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January 29, 2019

Money-laundering case: Zardari, Faryal file review petition in SC

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January 29, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Former President Asif Ali Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur on Monday requested the Supreme Court to recall its order passed on January 7 in the money laundering case saying the directions issued in the impugned order are prejudicial to them in any futuristic eventualities of a fair trial and due process will not be possible under Article 10 (a) of the Constitution. The former President and his sister filed a review petition in the apex court through their counsel Sardar Latif Khosa under Article 188 of the constitution against its order of January 7 in money laundering case, lodged against the top leadership of Pakistan People’s Party. Last year, the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) formed by the Supreme Court had submitted its findings in the apex court, alleging that a close nexus had been found between a troika of Zardari Group, Bahria Town and Omni Group in the ‘fake accounts' scam.

The report had revealed that at least 29 bank accounts had been identified as fake which had been used for money laundering of Rs42 billion.

On January 7, a three-member bench of the apex court comprising former Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar and Justice Ijazul Ahsen while hearing the instant case had referred the matter to National Accountability Bureau (NAB) directing it to complete the investigation within two months.

Justice Mian Saqib Nisar however had said that the court will continue this matter as writ mandamus. Following the apex court’s decision, the anti-graft watchdog constituted a combine investigation team (CIT) led by DG Rawalpindi Irfan Naeem Mangi under the supervision of NAB chairman Justice (R) Javed Iqbal.

Former President Asif Ali Zardari, his sister Frayal Talpur and others are the respondents in the instant matter being investigated by the FIA for using fake accounts and their alleged involvement in fraudulent bank transactions to the tune of Rs35 billion.

The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had been investigating a 2015 case pertaining to fake accounts and fictitious transactions conducted through 29 benami accounts in Summit Bank, Sindh Bank and United Bnak Limited (UBL).

On September 6, the apex court had constituted a six-member Joint Investigation Team to probe into a money and fake accounts case. Headed by Ahsan Sadiq ,Additional Director General (Economic Crime Wing), FIA Headquarters, Islamabad, the JIT had been given all powers relating to inquiries and investigations including those available in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1908; National Accountability Ordinance, 1999; Federal Investigation Agency Act, 1974 and the Anti Corruption Laws, etc

On Monday, former President Asif Ali Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur filed a joint review petition against the apex court January 7 order and submitted that the impugned order suffered from errors floating on the surface of the record”.

They submitted that the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) failed to submit a final challan in the banking court and the agency was unable to find any evidence against them despite cooperation from all institutions.

Even after acceptance of the charge sheet, the petitioners have been ready and willing to collaborate with the FIA to help them reach a just and fair conclusion however the investigation on one pretext or another has failed to file the final challan in the case against the petitioners”, they submitted.

They contended that the directions issued in the SC order “are prejudicial to the petitioner in any futuristic eventualities of a fair trial and due process will not be possible under Article 10 (a) of the Constitution”.

The former President said that the powers under Article 184(3) of the Constitution are not unlimited, unfettered, completely discretionary, knowing no bounds. He further submitted that the impugned order fails to consider the enshrined principle of administrative law that what is to be done must be done in the manner prescribed and in no other manner.

In the facts and circumstances of the case and in the light of the report submitted by Joint Investigation Team (JIT) this court was not justified vide impugned order in directing transmission of the JIT report along with all material and evidence collected by JIT and NAB”, the petitioners contended.

They contended that the direction of filing of references if any in Islamabad and Rawalpindi when the entire alleged record, documents, witnesses and purported accused persons are in the province of Sindh is unlawful.

Faryal Talpur is a mother of a special child and her other two daughters are school going in Krachi, any proceedings outside of the premises of Karachi could prejudice her so also her family and schooling of her children”, the review petition contended.

The review petition further stated that unlawful allegations have been levelled against Faryal Talpur in the JIT report when JIT was only directed to probe against Zardari Group of which petitioner had resigned while entering presidency and Faryal Talpur is a director and not in her personal capacity.

It was further contended that the petitioners have been subjected to a derogatory campaign to stigmatize and malign them politically for unreservedly standing with the downtrodden voiceless weak segment of the society.

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