The bail applications of bankers Hussain Lawai and Talha Raza could not be heard by the trial court on Thursday due to the absence of the investigating officer.
The Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) Special Public Prosecutor Malik Mumtaz said that since the police file was not available, it was not possible for him to contest the bail pleas. The court then adjourned the hearing until August 8.
The judge of the special banking court, however, took serious note of the situation and directed the IO to ensure that he is present in the next hearing so the matter could be disposed of. The attorney for the two accused claimed that the FIA is adopting delaying tactics and that they are creating a bad impression about the serving of justice on the part of courts.
They said the FIA has failed to present any proofs against the accused as well as any details of the bogus accounts allegedly allowed by Lawai. They requested the court to take notice of the FIA’s tactics and decide the bail pleas without any further delay.
The court then directed the FIA to ensure the IO’s presence and the police file, otherwise the court would decide the bail pleas of Lawai and Raza, who are currently on judicial remand. The investigators claim that they have sound evidence against the accused. They say the two men have committed money laundering of around Rs7 billion and the FIA has recovered Rs4 billion of it.
Earlier, in the court of South Judicial Magistrate Shahrukh Shahnawaz, Lawai’s attorney Advocate Shaukat Hayat had opposed the IO’s request for granting physical remand of the two bankers. Hayat had told the court that an inquiry of a dormant case was reopened and was not worthy in legal terms.
He said Lawai was a board of director of the Pakistan Stock Exchange and his arrest had caused a very negative impact on the stock exchange. Lawai and other bankers are accused of facilitating the opening of 29 fake accounts at various banks where beneficiaries of the Sindh government had deposited Rs35 billion that was subsequently transferred to different accounts.
The FIA took notice of the scam when the financial monitoring unit of the State Bank of Pakistan generated a “suspicious transaction report” this January regarding 10 bank accounts, reporting that over 20 unknown accounts at a private bank were opened between 2013 and 2015 from where transactions worth billions of rupees were made.