KARACHI: The sources in Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) have revealed that the hefty amount of Rs2.25 billion discovered in a bank account of a Karachi falooda vendor is linked with multi-billion rupee money laundering scam involving PPP co-chairman Asif Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur.
Abdul Qadir, a resident of Orangi Town, Karachi, learned that he has Rs2.225 billion in his bank account which he says he never opened.
He only came to know about the hefty amount when he got a letter from the FIA. “My brother told me that there’s a letter from the investigation agency in my name and that I have been summoned,” he told media.
“I am the world’s number one unlucky person. I have, as they say, billions in my account but I cannot use some of it to at least somewhat improve my state of living,” said visibly frustrated Qadir. “They say it will be gone. At the end, I will still be the same falooda farosh [seller].”
Sources say the deposit was unearthed during investigations related to the biggest money laundering scam in Sindh’s history.
“[The discovery] is a part of our investigations pertaining to the money laundering case involving the Omni group,” a senior FIA official claimed.
“There are many persons like Abdul Qadir who do not know about existence of accounts in their names with hefty amounts,” he said, adding that the investigators have found dozens of such accounts opened in the names of people belonging to the lower strata – mostly labourers.
The official claimed that there are over 500 such accounts in the country and the investigators are tracing them.
A joint investigation team, formed by the Supreme Court, has been inquiring into the money laundering of Rs35 billion through fake bank accounts in the first week of September.
FIA Additional Director General Ehsan Sadiq is heading the team while Tax Commissioner Imran Lateef, State Bank of Pakistan’s Majid Hussain, Inter-Services Intelligence’s Brigadier Shahid Pervaiz, National Accountability Bureau’s Noman Aslam and Security and Exchange Commission of Pakistan’s Muhammad Afzal are the other members of the team. The apex court has been hearing a suo motu case regarding a 2015 inquiry into suspicious transactions through 29 ‘benami’ accounts of various banks.
Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur have been nominated in the case along with former Summit Bank president Hussain Lawai, Omni Group of Companies chairperson Khawaja Anwar Majeed and his son, and others. Lawai, Majeed and his son are already in the FIA’s custody while Zardari and Talpur have also been interrogated by the agency.
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