–Petition says SC has asked FIA to only ‘assist NAB’ but it was violating court’s order by questioning suspects
ISLAMABAD: Former president and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari on Friday moved the Supreme Court (SC) against the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), requesting it to stop the agency from probing the mega money laundering case.
On January 7, the top court had directed FIA to forward the case to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), giving it two months to wrap up the investigation.
The petition contends that the apex court had asked FIA to assist NAB in its investigation, however, in violation of court orders, the FIA is still conducting its own “parallel investigation” into the case which is “illegal”.
It adds that the FIA joint investigation team (JIT) had summoned Zardari Group’s legal adviser Abu Bakr Zardari on February 12 for questioning, which is a “parallel exercise of power” and violates Article 13 of the Constitution.
Article 13 of the Constitution states that an individual cannot be punished or prosecuted for the same offense more than once.
The petition adds that this investigation of the case by two different departments poses the risk of a “prejudiced trial” of the accused.
On Thursday, FIA had told a banking court that the transfer of the case to the bureau is underway as the NAB chairman has signed the request for the case’s transfer. An appeal will be filed in the apex court in this regard by tomorrow, the FIA prosecutor said.
Previously, Zardari had filed another petition in the apex court seeking a review of its decision to send the fake bank accounts case to the accountability watchdog.
The petition concluded that the case was transferred from Karachi to Islamabad “without any reason” and “Zardari has been the target of political revenge throughout his life”.
In December 2018, the FIA JIT held 172 people guilty of money laundering through fake bank accounts and had recommended placing their names on the Exit Control List (ECL). The accused include Zardari’s sister Faryal Talpur, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, former Sindh CM Qaim Ali Shah, Bahria Town Chairman Malik Riaz as well as PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari.