SUNDAY TIMES KARACHI: The court resumed hearing of the case, the former president, his sister and other accused turned up before it. The jail authorities didn’t produce Omni Group chairman Anwar Majeed in the court owing to his ill health.
Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) counsel Bakhtiar Channa informed the judge that the case was now being handed over to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for further probe.
The lawyer, representing Anwar Majeed and his son Abdul Ghani Majeed, pleaded with the court to release his clients on bail. He argued that the Supreme Court had handed its verdict in the case and that its interim order was no longer in field.
He further requested the judge to direct FIA to submit a final charge-sheet of the case.
The FIA counsel, however, opposed the bail plea, saying the matter was now being referred to NAB for further action; therefore, the court shouldn’t entertain their bail requests for the time being.
On Jan 7, the court had extended the bail of the PPP leaders till Jan 23 in the money laundering case.
Zardari and Talpur are facing a probe into the money laundering scam involving over Rs35 billion laundered through fake bank accounts. Zardari’s close aides Hussain Lawai and Anwar Majeed are also being investigated in the scandal. They both are in custody.
A Joint Investigation Team (JIT) formed to probe into the mega money laundering scam submitted its report in the Supreme Court.
The apex court banned the sale, purchase and transfer of properties owned by Zardari Group and Omni Group after the JIT revealed that Rs42 billion was laundered through fictitious bank accounts that had also been used to bear expenses of the former president’s home.
The JIT accused Mr Zardari of mis-declaring his assets in his nomination papers submitted in the 2018 general elections and recommended filing of references against Bilawal Bhutto Zardari.
The JIT members revealed that 29 fake bank accounts had been identified, which were used for money laundering. They said Rs1.2 billion had been transferred to Ms Talpur from JV Opal account and she had admitted it during her appearance before the team.
The JIT claimed the money was used to purchase properties in Tando Allhyar and Lahore.
It said that Omni Group had obtained Rs53.4 billion loans by setting up different companies since a company could not secure a loan exceeding Rs4 billion under the banking laws. Expenses of Zardari’s house were also paid through these companies, it said and added Rs2.7 million payment for sacrificial goats and some amount for pet dogs’ food had also been made by Omni Group.
Moreover, the expenses of Bilawal Houses in Karachi and Lahore were paid through fake bank accounts.