KARACHI: A banking court extended for a third time the interim pre-arrest bail of former president and Pakistan Peoples Party co-chairman Asif Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur in a money laundering case on Tuesday.
The bail of 11 other suspects was also extended till Nov 13.
Both Mr Zardari and Ms Talpur appeared before the banking court. Former Pakistan Stock Exchange chairman Hussain Lawai was also produced from prison.
The Federal Investigation Agency booked them along with several bankers and businessmen in a case pertaining to money laundering of Rs4.14 billion through ‘fake’ bank accounts in the Summit Bank, Sindh Bank and United Bank Limited.
On Tuesday, Judge Tariq Mehmood Khoso of the banking court was on leave.
Warrants for arrest of five absconding suspects in ‘fake’ accounts case reissued
The link judge while adjourning the matter extended the interim bail granted to Mr Zardari, Ms Talpur and around 11 others, including Zain Malik, the son-in-law of real estate tycoon Malik Riaz and three sons of Anwar Majeed, till Nov 13.
The court also reissued non-bailable warrants for the arrest of five absconding suspects, including UAE national Nasser Abdulla Hussain Lootah, directing the investigating officer to arrest and produce them on the next date of hearing.
Earlier, the PPP co-chairman and his sister reached the court amid tight security. Other party leaders including Imtiaz Shaikh, Nasir Shah, Nadia Gabol and others were also present.
The jail superintendent informed the court that another detained banker, Taha Raza, could not be produced since he had got his right knee fractured as he slipped in the prison on Oct 12.
He further informed the court that detained businessman Anwar Majeed, who is widely believed to be a close friend of Mr Zardari, could also not be produced since he had been shifted from jail to a hospital because of his ailment.
Defence counsel Shaukat Hayat complained that suspect Raza had been examined by a team of orthopaedic surgeons of the Civil Hospital Karachi, who had suggested his immediate surgery, but the prison authorities were not shifting him to the hospital outside the jail due to which his condition was deteriorating.
Initially, the FIA detained Lawai and Raza in July for allegedly facilitating opening of 29 ‘fake’ bank accounts in three private banks. One such bank account maintained in Summit Bank was used for suspicious transactions to several business entities, including M/s Zardari Group, M/s Omni Group and others.
A case was registered against them under Sections 419 (punishment for cheating by personation), 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property), 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating), 471 (using as genuine a forged document) and 109 (abetment) of the Pakistan Penal Code read with Section 5(2) of Prevention of Corruption Act, 1947 and Sections 3 and 4 of the Anti-Money Laundering Act, 2010.