–Sindh Assembly speaker issues Talpur’s production orders
–Talpur rejects corruption allegations, terms her arrest ‘political victimisation’
ISLAMABAD: An accountability court on Saturday handed over Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader Faryal Talpur to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on a nine-day physical remand in the fake bank accounts case.
The court has directed the accountability watchdog to produce the lawmaker again on June 24.
NAB prosecutor Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi told the court that the accused was arrested on Friday and her residence, Zardari House, has been declared sub-jail. “Her arrest warrants were issued on June 13,” he said, adding that she was a primary accused in the fake accounts reference case.
The court was told that suspicious transactions of billions of rupees had been made in the bank account of the Zardari Group from the fake bank accounts, and the account had allegedly been operated by Talpur.
Moreover, she had allegedly signed for transactions in the account with the name of Owais Muzaffar Tapi, the court was informed.
After appearing in the court, Talpur, while responding to a question by a reporter, said: “I leave my case to Allah.”
In her reply to another question over whether she believed her arrest was made on political or accountability purpose, she asked: “Couldn’t you comprehend my arrest was made on political purpose? Everyone knows that these arrests are political.”
Faryal Talpur, sister of former president Asif Ali Zardari who was arrested on Monday, was detained by NAB at Zardari House, which was declared a sub-jail after the dismissal of her bail plea by a high court.
The NAB is likely to take her to Karachi as her production orders were issued by Sindh Assembly Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani on Friday for participation in the budget session. According to reports, Speaker Durrani’s house might be declared a sub-jail for the said purpose.
On Monday, IHC rejected the two leaders’ bail plea in connection to a high-profile case of money laundering allegedly through fake banks accounts.
In its orders, the IHC allowed the NAB to arrest Zardari and Talpur, both of whom are now expected to file an appeal in the Supreme Court.
The investigation team has not shifted Talpur to their headquarters but will keep her under custody at her Islamabad residence for investigation, which has been declared a sub-jail for this purpose.
Later, a team of doctors was called to examine Talpur’s health and fitness, and her medical reports were presented before the accountability court by the bureau, stating that she was fit to stay under physical remand.
According to details, she would be kept under house arrest till further orders, and the bureau has deployed female personnel at her residence.
The cases pertain to transactions worth hundreds of millions of rupees to the two leaders’ private companies, allegedly, through fake bank accounts.
The NAB has been investigating several corruption cases against the former president and his sister.
FAKE ACCOUNTS SAGA:
Information regarding the fake accounts were disclosed when an intelligence agency arrested a prominent money changer for investigation in another matter. During December 2015, Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has been reported to begin a discreet investigation into certain bank accounts through which multi-billion rupee transactions were made.
The probe was initially shelved but resumed almost a year and a half later with the FIA’s State Bank circle initiating a formal inquiry in January 2018. By June, the FIA had several high-profile names on its list but was unable to make headway–for several reasons.
Top court intervened in the matter while former chief justice Mian Saqib Nisar took suo motu notice over lackluster performance in the money-laundering case. Consequently, close aides of Zardari, including Hussain Lawai, Taha Raza and two others were arrested. Subsequently, the first case was registered in the mega-corruption scandal.
Saqib Nisar issued directives to form a Joint Investigation Team in order to accelerate the pace of the investigation in the scam which identified as many as 11,500 bank accounts and a total of 924 account holders at the start of their investigation.