–Ask my father about Zardari Group’s businesses, Bilawal tells JIT
KARACHI: Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari’s spokesperson Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar called upon Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar to take notice of the ‘media trial’ of the party leadership in violation of the orders of the Supreme Court (SC).
“SC, in its order, while forming a joint investigation team (JIT) to investigate alleged fake accounts, had clearly directed that to ensure transparent and effective inquiry, no member of the JIT or the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) will divulge any information to the media,” he said.
“Sadly what we are seeing is that in clear violation of SC orders, sources ‘within JIT’ are openly being quoted on various talk shows and media outlets, to speculate on the ongoing inquiry,” said Khokhar.
“The ongoing speculation is clearly being done with a malafide agenda to twist the facts and to malign the PPP leadership and create confusion in the minds of the general public,” he added.
With such media trial at the behest of the FIA and JIT, Khokhar wondered what options the SC was left with to correct the damage. He also wondered why this media trial is continuously being ignored by the SC.
“This raises a lot of questions on the credibility of the investigators, the conduct of the investigation and seems that the outcome is already pre-determined,” said Khokhar.
He also hoped that CJP Nisar would take appropriate action in this regard.
BILAWAL DISTANCES HIMSELF FROM ZARDARI GROUP:
Bilawal’s legal team told the JIT in a written reply that their client was not aware of Zardari Group’s dealings. The PPP chairman informed investigators that his father Asif Ali Zardari was looking after the business affairs.
“He [Bilawal] claimed that it is true that he is one of the directors of Zardari Group but he does not take part in its business. All affairs are being run by his father [Asif Ali Zardari] and the JIT should question him regarding fake accounts case,” officials familiar with the latest development pertaining to multi-billion scam revealed.
Bilawal’s written reply, submitted by his legal team headed by Farooq H Naek, said, “He mostly remained abroad, became tax resident in 2016 in Pakistan so all affairs and business dealings like payments of water, food charges, rent, etc. are being dealt by his father—so it is a better option to question him.”
The PPP chairman did not appear before the JIT and was represented through his lawyer Farooq H Naek, who is already representing former president Zardari and Faryal Talpur in fake bank accounts scam. Bilawal has officially requested the JIT to send him a questionnaire before appearing before the investigators.
According to sources, JIT wanted to question Bilawal as a director of Zardari Group which allegedly has been a beneficiary of fake accounts. More than 620 individuals who have an alleged direct or indirect link with more than 300 fake accounts have accumulated the wealth worth around Rs110 billion, officials associated with the investigation process revealed on Tuesday.
The JIT asked Bilawal if he was acquainted with the facts and circumstances of the matter and possess information/evidence which relates to the subject case/enquiry. JIT also advised the PPP chief that he was required to produce the record along with justifications pertaining to transactions made by Zardari Group with many fake accounts associated with Omni Group and other over a half dozen entities and individuals, according to a summon-notice the JIT served to Bilawal. JIT also questioned him about the huge sum accumulated through Lucky International’s account 12120-311714135-339 maintained at a private bank in Karachi. Investigators also want to question the PPP chairman about fake accounts maintained through Umair Associates, Ocean Enterprises and Dream Trading and Company.
These accounts carried more than 34 transactions worth around Rs130 million, an official revealed. There was a payment of Rs1.54 million of the domestic water bill for the month of April 20, 2015, pertaining to House No, D-30, Block 3 Clifton from a fake account of Royal International, which were maintained at a private bank in Karachi, revealed the JIT notice at Bilawal House in Karachi last week.
Payment of Rs4.14 million on June 29, 2015, from a fake account owned by Logistic Trading for food supplied to Bilawal House by M/s ‘The Deli’ restaurant was also revealed in the notice. This account was maintained at a private bank in Karachi.
JIT has also sought original documents and certified receipts to justify his stance as evidence for fake accounts case. The notice finally read, “Please note that failure to comply with this notice may entail penal consequences under the NAO 1999.”