ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Monday warned Chief Minister Sindh Murad Ali Shah of stern action if he gave any concession to the accused involved in the Rs35 billion fake accounts scam.
Former president Asif Ali Zardari, his sister Faryal Talpur and one of his close aides, Anwar Majeed, are among those implicated in this case.
The three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar, ordered shifting Abdul Ghani Majeed, Anwer Majeed and Hussain Lawai to jail.
Addressing the Advocate-General of Sindh, the chief justice said that this message should be conveyed to the CM Sindh, warning that the court would intervene vigorously if any attempt was made to give concession to the accused.
The bench asked the special court to refrain from passing any order on applications filed by the respondents without first informing the apex court.
The chief justice observed that the SC was empowered to regulate these proceedings under Article 184(3) of the Constitution.
He said that if Anwar Majeed or Abdul Ghani Majeed were again found sitting in the office of the Superintendent Jail, it would not be good. If this continued to happen, the case would be shifted from Sindh to the Punjab, the CJP warned.
Earlier, a medical examination board, formed by surgeon-general, submitted its report regarding the health of the three accused.
The report stated that Anwar Majeed was fit for interrogation.
Advising minimal medication for controlling blood pressure, the report stated that he had a normal cardiac status.
Regarding Abdul Ghani Majeed, it stated that he needed “surgical management for hemorrhoids”. At present, his condition could be managed “outside hospital settings”.
“He should be kept under observation for … acute problems (such as) increased bleeding from rectum till a surgery is performed. He may also be counseled for early surgical treatment. However, he is fit at present to undergo interrogation if prolonged sitting posture was avoided until a surgical cure for his hemorrhoids.
The board suggested that Hussain Lawai’s cardiac status was normal and advised minimal medication for blood pressure control. It stated that Lawai was also fit to undergo interrogation.
Earlier, the newly-constituted Joint Investigation Team (JIT) submitted its first progress report, informing the apex court that at least 334 individuals were involved in money laundering through fake accounts.
JIT’s head Ahsan Sadiq told members of the bench that 77 bank accounts and 210 companies/entities were being investigated for illegal transactions and as many as 47 belonged to Anwar Majeed’s Omni Group.
It stated that new dubious accounts had been found during its investigation.
The chief justice observed that the picture was getting clearer, adding that these accounts were used to whiten black money worth billions of rupees.
When the CJP inquired about the whereabouts of an accused, said to be an official of the Omni Group, named only as Arif, he was informed that Arif, the prime accused, was abroad.
Sadiq said that efforts were being made to bring him back to Pakistan and the court could be briefed where he was hiding.
The court was also informed that among Omni Group’s holdings were 16 sugar mills.
In response, the CJP asked if all these sugar mills were directly owned by the group or in someone else’s name.
The JIT also furnished a list of government contractors who deposited various amounts in these fake accounts, stating that it was a monumental task as it involved identifying hundreds of transactions.
Meanwhile, the court also asked Shahid Hamid, the counsel for the Omni Group, that if his clients would release funds to bear JIT’s financial expenses.
The counsel reminded the court that all of Omni group’s accounts had been frozen.
Meanwhile, the Additional Attorney-General said that the Foreign Office had forwarded a request to the United Kingdom, seeking former finance minister Ishaq Dar’s extradition. He said that UK government’s response was awaited. Later, the case was adjourned for 10 days.