The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Monday arrested former president Asif Ali Zardari from Islamabad in the fake bank accounts case.
The arrest has been made after Islamabad High Court (IHC) rejected the petition seeking extension of the pre-arrest bail of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) co-chairman Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur in the fake bank accounts case.
A two member bench comprising Justice Aamir Farooq and Justice Mohsin Kiani of the IHC gave the verdict on the petitions after hearing arguments from both sides. Both the siblings had left the court premises even before the verdict was announced.
They now have the option of appealing against the high court verdict in the Supreme Court of Pakistan. The case against the duo relates to the transaction of Rs150 million to the Omni Group, a company owned by both the PPP leaders, through alleged fake bank accounts.
In August 2018, the Federal Investigation Agency had named Asif Zardari, Faryal Talpur, Omni Group Chairman Anwar Majeed, his sons and over 10 others as suspects in alleged money laundering of more than Rs4 billion after 29 ‘fake’ bank accounts were found in Summit Bank, Sindh Bank and United Bank Ltd.
In December 2018, a joint investigation team probing money laundering of billions of rupees through fake bank accounts had told the top court that at least 29 bank accounts had been identified as fake through which money laundering of about Rs42 billion had been carried out.
The JIT report had found close nexus among Zardari Group, Bahria Town and Omni Group in money laundering.
The probe body had named 172 suspects allegedly involved in money laundering through fake bank accounts – Zardari, Talpur, PPP Chairman Bilwal Bhutto and Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah were also among them.
In January 2019, the then chief justice Mian Saqib Nisar had ordered to remove the names of Bilawal Bhutto and Murad Ali Shah from the JIT report and the Exit Control List (ECL).
At the inception, the case hearing was started in a banking court in Karachi but later it had been shifted to an accountability court in Islamabad on an appeal by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).
They got an extension in their pre-arrest bail five times and were on bail for two months and 12 days in the meanwhile.
The PPP has threatened to launch a country-wide protest against arrest of Zardari.