A Banking Court in Karachi on Friday approved the plea of National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to transfer the money-laundering case to Accountability Court Islamabad. The court also withdrew the interim pre-arrest bails granted to former President Asif Ali Zardari, his sister Faryal Talpur and some other accused in the case.
The court presided over by Judge Tariq Khoso announced its verdict on the request of NAB, which it reserved on March 1, 2019 for trial of money-laundering case in Accountability Court Islamabad. Money-laundering case involves alleged illegal transactions of billions of rupees from fake bank accounts.
Zardari, Talpur, Anwar Majeed and Hussain Lawai along with over two dozen other persons have been implicated in this mega case.
According to the order, banking court ordered the transfer of sealed record of the case to the administrative judge of NAB Court Islamabad. The court also cancelled the interim bails of all the accused in money-laundering case, including Asif Ali Zardari's and his sister Faryal Talpur's and others', and ordered the return of amounts deposited as surety bonds for the bail to the accused.
The court ordered that the report of Joint Investigation Team (JIT), which was formed on the orders of Supreme Court along with the evidence collected so far and other related documents should be transferred to Islamabad Accountability Court.
Court directed that members of JIT should cooperate with NAB investigation team in this case and can also continue its unfinished investigation in this regard.
The court also ordered to produce the accused in the concerned court, who are in jail in connection with the money laundering case.
Before the judgment was reserved a few days back, defence counsel including Farooq H. Naek, the counsel for Asif Zardari and Faryal Talpur, opposed the transfer of case from Karachi to Islamabad and argued that the JIT formed on the orders of apex court had not recommended the transfer of case to an accountability court.
Naek urged the court to reject the plea of NAB for transfer of case and stated that the application of NAB is aimed at "pressurizing" the banking court.
Naek said that section 16-A of National Accountability Ordinance 1999 should be reviewed and said that NAB wrongly claimed that the apex court ordered for transfer of the case.
Defence counsel argued that all the directives of apex court were related to JIT, whose report didn't even mention the FIR registered by Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on money-laundering.
NAB cited the provision of 16-A of National Accountability Ordinance 1999 for transfer of case to an accountability court and said that this is being done in connection with the orders of apex court, for which NAB Chairman also gave the approval.
However, court didn't approve the plea of defence. Former President Asif Ali Zardari arrived in the court after the verdict was announced whereas Fayral Talpur didn't appear in the court ostensibly due to illness. As the verdict was announced, the sons of Anwar Majeed, co-accused in money-laundering case left the court, at which Federal Investigation Team (FIA) went after them to arrest them.