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IHC grants Zardari protective bail in fake accounts case

IHC grants Zardari protective bail in fake accounts case

ISLAMABAD: Former President and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Co-Chairperson Asif Ali Zardari’s petition for protective bail on Saturday in a case pertaining to money laundering was approved by the Islamabad High Court (IHC).

The request was approved by IHC’s Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb. Moreover, the former president was directed to approach the trial court concerned.

Earlier on Friday, a banking court had issued non-bailable warrants of arrest for PPP Co-Chairman Zardari and 15 others in the Rs 35 billion money laundering case. While hearing a case relating to the money laundering probe, the court had directed authorities to present Zardari and other suspects before it by September 4.

The FIA had also requested the banking court for a 14-day remand of former president Zardari’s close aide and Omni Group Chairman Anwar Majeed and his son.

The accused’s counsel, Farooq Naek, had opposed the appeal.

After hearing arguments from both sides, the court had granted physical remand of Omni Group’s chairman and his son Abdul Ghani Majeed until August 24.

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.

Earlier on Thursday, the banking court hearing the case had approved an extension in Talpur’s interim bail until the next hearing on September 4.

Interim bails for some others, including Shehzad Jatoi and Sher Muhammad Mugheri, had been extended until the same date.

A decision on the bail of Lawai and Taha Raza had been adjourned until August 18.

The court had also approved transit remand of the two under-custody accused Anwar Majeed and Abdul Ghani Majeed, on the FIA’s request.

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 sources. The amount, according to FIA sources, is said to be black money gathered from various kickbacks, commissions and bribes.