Zardari Arrested by NAB in Money laundering case after bail rejected in Islamabad High court
Former president and Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari on Monday surrendered himself to a team of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) after Islamabad High Court (IHC) rejected Asif Ali Zardari and Faryal Talpur’s pre-arrest bail plea in the money laundering case.
Following the refusal of his pre-arrest bail, a team of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) accompanied by police personnel had reached the residence of PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari in order to arrest him.
PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Asifa Bhutto were present on the ocassion. The NAB team did not arrest Faryal Talpur though.
Asif Zardari was taken to NAB office in Rawalpindi where he was shifted and to cell no 2. The former president will be presented before the accountability court on Tuesday where the NAB will appeal for his remand.
Heavy contingent of police had been deployed near Zardari House to avoid any untoward incident. All the roads leading to Zardari House had been sealed off.
Small scuffles erupted between police and supporters of Zardari s Pakistan People s Party (PPP) outside his family s residence in Islamabad as he was taken into custody.
The charges in the latest case centre around allegations Zardari laundered vast sums of money through suspect bank accounts and companies.
Earlier today, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) had rejected the permanent bail application filed by former president and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari and his sibling Faryal Talpur in the mega money laundering case.
Subsequently, the court had allowed the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to arrest both PPP leaders. A two-member division bench comprising of Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kiyani and Justice Aamer Farooq took up the case.
In this regard, the court had sought complete record pertaining to the money laundering accusations against the PPP leaders from the NAB. As the hearing resumed, NAB prosecutor Jahanzeb Bharwana pleaded with the court for 20 minutes to give arguments in the case.
To which, the bench stated: “You have already presented your arguments, while this is hearing for a bail and not an appeal against conviction.”
The NAB prosecutor responded that 29 [fake bank] accounts were traced, according to the FIR lodged in the case, and transactions of Rs4.5 billion were uncovered, and billions of rupees were transferred from A1 International and Umair Associates. He further disclosed that the Zardari Group and the Parthenon Private Limited had conducted transactions with the accounts, and said this was a detail of only one account from the total 29.
The prosecutor argued that Mr Zardari’s bail application was inadmissible for hearing. Importantly, the NAB had sought the court’s permission to arrest Mr Zardari and his sibling. The bureau has already issued arrest warrants for the PPP co-chairman in the money laundering case.
Farooq H Naek, the defense counsel of the PPP leaders, while responding to the arguments of the prosecutor stated that the chairman of the bureau does not have an authority to issue arrest warrants, and in this case he had issued an arrest warrants.
The former president was on interim bail for two months and twelve days, and since March 28, he got extended his bail five times.
NAB is conducting investigations in pursuance of the Supreme Court’s verdict in the money laundering of billions through fake accounts case wherein it forwarded the joint investigation team (JIT) report with directions to investigate and file references.
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 NAB.
Last year, authorities discovered several accounts in the name of poor people that had been flooded with cash, then suddenly emptied. Supreme Court established a commission in September to investigate the scourge, finding that at least US$400 million had passed through “thousands of false accounts”.