KARACHI: For the second time, former president and co-chairperson of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Asif Ali Zardari and his sister, Faryal Talpur, failed to appear before the Federal Investigation Agency’s joint investigation team formed to investigate a mega-corruption scandal involving the launder of billions of rupees.
Meanwhile, Talpur appeared before a banking court on Saturday in the same case and submitted surety bonds worth Rs2 million to secure an interim pre-arrest bail till August 6.
The FIA had summoned the duo at 11am on Saturday to record their statements in the Rs35 billion money laundering case. The two PPP leaders, however, requested the FIA for more time through their lawyers, who appeared before the JIT on their behalf.
Advocate Muzzamil Qureshi appeared before the FIA’s zonal directorate on behalf of Talpur and requested for a new date. He informed the directorate that his client was busy in trying to secure an interim bail from the banking court and hence could not appear before the FIA on Saturday.
This was the second time that the duo failed to appear before the FIA. Earlier on July 11, the agency had summoned Talpur and Zardari, but the siblings had failed to make an appearance then too.
Talpur had earlier obtained a six-day protective bail from the Sindh High Court (SHC) that ended on Saturday, after which she submitted bail bonds worth Rs2 million to a banking court for a pre-arrest interim bail till August 6.
The FIA had declared Zardari, his sister, Faryal Talpur, and at least eighteen others absconders in the money laundering case involving Rs35 billion – the biggest in the history of the province.
The FIA’s State Bank Circle investigators have already submitted a charge sheet of the case, in which Talpur and Zardari are named, against prominent banker and former Pakistan Stock Exchange chairperson, Hussain Lawai. The latter is believed to be a close of Zardari.
Besides the PPP co-chairperson and his sister, 18 other suspects including Anwar Majeed and his son, Abdul Ghani Majeed, Aslam Masood, Muhammad Arif Khan, Adeel Shah Rashidi, Nasser Abdullah Hussain, Muhammad Ashraf, Adnan Jawed, Muhammad Umair, Iqbal Arain, Qasim Ali, Shahzad Ali, Azam Wazir Khan, Sher Muhammad Mugheri, Zain Malik, Muhammad Iqbal Khan Noori, Nimr Majid, Mustafa Zulqarnain have been declared absconders in the charge sheet.
Lawai was arrested by the Federal Investigation Agency earlier this month in the money-laundering case, in which he is accused to have helped facilitate the opening of 29 ‘fake’ accounts in Summit Bank, Sindh Bank and United Bank Limited. Last week, Lawai and Summit Bank Senior Vice-President Taha Raza were sent to jail on remand in the multi-billion rupee money laundering scandal.
According to the First Information Report (FIR) registered against Lawai and others, billions of rupees were deposited into the said fake accounts and subsequently transferred to other beneficiaries, including Zardari and his sister’s company, the Zardari Group. The Zardari Group received Rs15 million of the laundered money, according to the FIR.