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SC dismisses bail plea in Rs1.7 billion cryptocurrency case

January 26, 2022
SC dismisses bail plea in Rs1.7 billion cryptocurrency case

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Tuesday again questioned the performance of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and reprimanded its official for an undue delay in filing a reference against the accused allegedly involved in Rs1.70 billion cryptocurrency fraud case.

A two-member bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice-designate Umer Ata Bandial dismissed the bail application of the accused, Waseem Zeb, and directed the anti-graft body to file a reference against him.

During the course of the hearing, Justice Qazi Muhammad Amin Ahmed observed that the NAB has made a criminal negligence for not filing the reference against the accused even after two years. At the outset of the hearing, the NAB special prosecutor while opposing the bail application of the accused submitted before the court that Waseem Zeb had accumulated Rs1.70 billion from the citizens through fraud and deposited the money in a cryptocurrency account.

The official informed the court that evidence as well as statements of the affected citizens are on record. The counsel for the accused told the court that his client has been accused of taking money from the citizens. However, the receipts of the money are not yet available. The NAB special prosecutor contended that a digital coin is given to people taking cryptocurrency.

Justice Umer Ata Bandial told the NAB special prosecutor that he has heard about cryptocurrency and bitcoin. What is this? The NAB special prosecutor replied that citizens were given digital coins in lieu of money.

Justice Qazi Muhammad Amin Ahmed observed that taking money without a receipt is the actual art of the accused. The judge raised questions over the investigation done by the anti-graft body in the instant case and asked the official why the bureau did not trace out the assets of the accused so far. "The same is the state of investigation by the anti-graft body in the mega scandal wherein the bureau has no basic information,” Justice Qazi Amin remarked, adding that the NAB doesn’t file references against the accused and then courts are blamed for not deciding the cases. Meanwhile, the court after hearing the parties dismissed the bail application of the accused.

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