Zardari, Faryal gets interim bail in fake bank accounts case

Accountability court defers Zardari, Talpur's indictment in money laundering case

RAWALPINDI: An accountability court on Monday granted the interim bail to former president and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur till May 9 against surety bonds of Rs2 million each in the money laundering through fake bank accounts case.
Accountability court Judge Arshad Malik presided over hearing of the case as 26 accused persons appeared in the court. They appeared in the same case for the third time.
Justice Malik asked for whereabouts of other four accused persons including Hussain Lawai.
To which, the NAB prosecutor responded that two letters were written to the secretary of Sindh, however no reply was received.
Subsequently, the court ordered the NAB to raise the matter with the concerned officials, and that the court would approach Sindh High Court (SHC) over the issue.
Meanwhile, the court accepted an application of exemption from personal appearance in the hearing today, filed on behalf of four accused persons from the total 30 suspects nominated by the National Accountability Court (NAB) in the same case.
In his talk to the media outside the court, Zardari said the state’s economy and the NAB could not continue their affairs simultaneously.
Furthermore, he disclosed that the PPP would fully support Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F) chief Fazal-ur-Rehman in his [political] campaign [against the government].
In response to another question, he said, “God forbid, the government completes its tenure.”
Regarding PML-N’s leader Nawaz Sharif’s ongoing treatment, he said, “If necessary, he may go abroad for treatment.”
Besides, PPP leaders have filed an application with the Islamabad High Court for another extension in their interim bail which ended today.
IHC’s two-member bench comprising of Justice Aamir Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kiyani are scheduled to preside over hearing of the application.
Contrarily, the NAB has pleaded with the court, in its written reply, to not extend their bail.
Reportedly, strict security measures have been formulated and implemented around the court and its premises, and a heavy contingent of police is deployed to prevent any untoward incident during the hearing.
Entry of unauthorised persons into the court is restricted; however media persons are allowed to access the court room.
On April 16, NAB prosecutor Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi had told the accountability court that some accused persons in the case were imprisoned in Karachi’s Malir Jail and were not produced during the hearing.
To which, the judge expressed displeasure and warned of a show cause notice to Sindh government, if the accused persons were not produced in the next hearing.
Except four accused persons, attendance of all other suspects had been marked in the court, whereas bailable arrest warrants were issued for four persons including, Iqbal, Azam, Nisar and Adnan.
The NAB prosecutor had also told the court that two accused women namely Kiran Aman and Noreen Sultan – who had expressed their willingness to become approvers against Zardari, his sister Talpur and other primary accused persons in the case – have submitted their application with the NAB. However, the process of their becoming approvers and application has not been completed yet.
To which, the court had ordered to issue notices to all accused persons who were not appearing for the hearings. Subsequently, the hearing was adjourned till April 29.
Importantly, a third suspect has offered to become an approver against Zardari and Talpur during the hearing today.
An accused namely Sher Mohammad requested the court that he be allowed to testify as a witness. At this, the NAB prosecutor told the court that his application was already received by the bureau and it was being reviewed.
The accused is the third suspect to have offered to testify as a witness, after Kiran and Noreen.
During the hearing on April 8, the court marked the attendance of the accused persons and ordered the distribution of copies of the reference of the same case among their lawyers. The case was adjourned until April 16, and both Zardari and Talpur left the premises without further interaction with the media outside the court.
Earlier on April 12, the NAB had requested Islamabad High Court (IHC) to revoke interim bail of former president Asif Ali Zardari because he might tamper the record pertaining to the fake bank account case.
The NAB had submitted its reply to the IHC in a bail petition filed by the former president in the fake bank accounts’ case.
The IHC had extended Zardari and his sister Talpur’s interim bail till April 29 (today).
On April 13, Zardari had submitted his written response to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Rawalpindi on 54 questions in connection with three cases against him, including Park Lane Estate, Pink Residency, and fake accounts and money laundering.
Earlier, the case was being heard in a banking court in Karachi but had been shifted to an accountability court in Islamabad upon an appeal by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).
The Federal Investigation Agency had named Zardari, Talpur, Omni Group chairman Anwar Majeed, his sons and other suspects in a charge sheet filed in the banking court in August 2018 for alleged money laundering of billions of rupees through fake bank accounts in three banks – Summit Bank, Sindh Bank and United Bank Ltd.


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