Fake accounts case: SC summons interior minister for placing 172 suspects on ECL

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SC

ISLAMABAD: During hearing of the fake bank accounts case on Monday, Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar expressed anger at the placement of 172 suspects of the case on the exit control list (ECL) and ordered state minister for interior Shehryar Afridi to appear before the bench within 15 minutes.
This is the first hearing of the case since a joint investigation team (JIT), that was formed to probe the case, submitted its report in the top court last week. A two-member Supreme Court bench comprising Justice Nisar and Justice Ijazul Ahsan is hearing the case.
Last week the names of 172 people, including politicians, bankers and businessmen, that had appeared in the JIT report, were placed on the JIT. During the hearing today, Justice Nisar said that the minister who ordered to place the names on the ECL should appear before court “within 15 minutes”.
“Why were the names placed on the ECL,” Justice Nisar asked. “A JIT report is just a report, we have yet to review it.”
The chief justice also expressed his displeasure over comments on the JIT report in the media and said: “Why don’t we send this case to the media, they can review it.”
“What concern is it of the ministers who come on television and give their analysis on the matter?” he added.
Several bigwigs, including former president Asif Ali Zardari, his sister Faryal Talpur, former president of Summit Bank Hussain Lawai and Omni Group’s Anwar Majeed, have been nominated in the case. Property tycoon Malik Riaz, his son-in-law Zain Malik, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah and PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari have also been included in the probe.
The court had ordered Nimr Majeed, Zain and Riaz to appear before court today. Director general of the Federal Investigation Bureau (FIA), Sindh chief secretary, National Accountability Bureau’s prosecutor general and Sindh’s advocate general were also ordered to appear as well as members of the JIT and attorney general. The complete records of the alleged fake accounts will be submitted in court today.
According to reports, Zardari, Bilawal and Shah decided not to appear before the court today.
The JIT, in its report submitted last week, claimed that a close nexus had between found between the Zardari, Bahria Town and Omni groups. The report revealed that at least 29 bank accounts had been identified as fake which had been used for money laundering of Rs42 billion.
The JIT had probed 11,500 bank accounts of 924 individuals and companies associated with the fake accounts, the report said.
It also revealed that kickbacks of Rs1.36bn had been laundered through bank accounts of 19 contractors. Similarly, Rs10.2bn had been laundered through accounts of Bahria Town that were allegedly being maintained by Zain and Mushtaq Ahmad, a former secretary of former president Zardari.
A JIT member informed the bench that Ahmad was also involved in model Ayyan Ali’s money laundering case.

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