FIA requests SC to form JIT to probe Rs35bn money laundering case

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ISLAMABAD: The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) requested the Supreme Court to form a joint investigation team to probe an ongoing case pertaining to money laundering of Rs35 billion from fictitious bank accounts.
The FIA submitted a report on its probe to the apex court bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Saqib Nisar, hearing the money laundering case.
In its report, the FIA said the agency unearthed Omni Group’s affiliate trading company in Dubai during the probe.
As per the report, two foreign bank accounts of Crown Trading Company were traced from the office of Abdul Ghani Majeed, son of former president Asif Ali Zardari’s close aide and Omni Group chairman Anwar Majeed.
“Through the foreign accounts in Dubai, money was transferred to buy property in Britain,” the report stated.
The FIA stated in its report that important record at Khoski sugar mill in Badin was burnt before the agency raided the mill. The agency said that it had collected samples of the burnt record.
As the hearing began, former president Asif Ali Zardari’s counsel requested that the hearing be postponed. However, the chief justice rejected the request stating that several lawyers were present in court.
The deputy attorney general informed the court that the hearing was fixed to discuss the formation of a JIT and that Zardari and his sister, Faryal Talpur, had been granted protective bail.
To this, the chief justice questioned which court had approved their protective bail.
The Omni Group counsel told the bench that he had prepared a written response to the request for the formation of a JIT. “However, I travelled to Islamabad through a PIA flight and my luggage was taken to Lahore,” he said.
The deputy attorney general then apprised the court that Omni Group chairman Anwar Majeed and his son, Abdul Ghani, had been arrested.
Further, responding to Justice Nisar’s inquiry about former Pakistan Stock Exchange chairman Hussain Lawai, the deputy attorney general said, “He has been sent on a judicial remand and is in FIA’s custody.”
The court rejected the request to shift Abdul Ghani to a hospital and directed that a formal plea be filed in this regard.
The hearing of the case was then adjourned till September 5.
The FIA is investigating 32 people in relation to money laundering from fictitious accounts, including Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur. Zardari’s close aide Hussain Lawai was arrested last month in connection with the probe.
The former president’s other close aide and Omni Group chairman Anwar Majeed and his son, Abdul Ghani, were also arrested by FIA earlier this month.
Over 20 ‘benami’ accounts at some private banks were opened in 2013, 2014 and 2015 from where transactions worth billions of rupees were made, according to media.
The amount, according to FIA official, is said to be black money gathered from various kickbacks, commissions and bribes.