KARACHI: The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) arrested another accused in a multibillion-rupee investment scam here on Saturday.
Muhammad Abid Husain, a director of the fraudulent Nationwala Group of Companies, who was also working as coordinator at The News, was picked up as the FIA stepped up its investigation.
The FIA has also discovered that Abid Hussain owns many flats in Gulshan-e-Iqbal and Gulistan-e-Jauhar and also has a considerable bank balance.
Thousands of people had invested in four investment schemes of the group. The schemes, like Punjab’s Double Shah, promised doubling the principal investments in one year, but deprived the investors of billions of rupees.
On Friday, the FIA had arrested three accused: Asad, also a director of the Nationwala Group of Companies, Mansoor, who dealt with banks on behalf of the group, and Sami, a sub-agent of The News who worked for Sami Ahmed Rao, a sub-editor at the newspaper and also a director of the Nationwala group.
FIA officials said the main accused and owner of the fraudulent group, Syed Zahid Ali, was still at large, but efforts were being made for his arrest.
The names of all the absconding accused, including Syed Zahid Ali, have been placed on the Exit Control List to prevent them from fleeing the country.
Meanwhile, dozens of affected people held a protest demonstration outside the Karachi Press Club on Saturday, demanding the arrest of the owners of the Nationwala Group and their accomplices. They also demanded the return of their money.
The people cheated include dozens of employees of The News, who had invested over Rs100 million in the four different schemes, mostly borrowed from friends and relatives as the company gave huge profits compared to the government saving schemes and private banks.
The Nationwala Group ran a two-year “lucky committee”; an investment scheme which paid around 50 to 60 percent yearly profits on Rs100,000; another term deposit scheme which doubled the principle amount within a year; and an investment scheme in real estate.
The protesters, including members of the Lucky Committee, investors of the term deposit and variable profit schemes, said they had been deprived of their entire lives’ savings, and said they were now unable to run their day-to-day affairs.
Chanting slogans against the fraudsters, the protesters, including women, also demanded of the authorities to unearth all such fake schemes and identify and also arrest people in the law-enforcement agencies whose backing and support resulted in the running of such fraudulent schemes in the country.