Talpur’s physical remand extended by 14-days

The court extended the physical remand of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) senior leader Faryal Talpur’s by 14 days.

The sister of former president Asif Ali Zardari is one of the prime accused in the fake accounts case and will be presented before an accountability court on July 22.

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB), while requesting an extension in the remand of the PPP leader, stated in court that she had attended a recent National Assembly session after her production orders were issued by the NA speaker.

Faryal was arrested by the accountability watchdog a day after her brother and former president was arrested in the fake accounts case. The arrests were made after the Islamabad High Court (IHC) rejected the pre-arrest bail applications of the siblings.

The fake accounts saga

Information regarding the fake accounts came to the fore when an intelligence agency picked up a prominent money changer in an unrelated case. In December 2015, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) began a discreet investigation into certain bank accounts through which multi-billion rupee transactions had been made.

The probe was initially shelved but resumed almost a year and a half later with 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.

It was at this point that the Supreme Court intervened and the then chief justice Mian Saqib Nisar took suo motu notice of the ‘slow progress’ in the money-laundering case. In July, Zardari’s close aides Hussain Lawai, Taha Raza and two others were arrested. Subsequently, the first case was registered in the mega-corruption scandal.

The then chief justice ordered the formation of a joint investigation team to quicken the pace of the investigation.

The JIT report in a nutshell

According to the report, the JIT identified 11,500 bank accounts and 924 account holders at the start of their investigation.

Its experts generated 59 Suspected Transaction Reports (STR) and 24,500 Cash Transaction Reports. That means the transactions were flagged as suspicious.

Due to the high quantum of transactions, the JIT decided on a threshold of Rs10 million “to track, follow and minutely investigate the flow of funds beyond the immediate counterparties and determine the source of funds and ultimate beneficiaries”.

It questioned 767 individuals, including Zardari and Talpur, while PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari submitted written responses.