Pak SC orders formation of JIT to probe Zardari’s involvement in fake accounts case

Pak SC orders formation of JIT to probe Zardari’s involvement in fake accounts case
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Islamabad: Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered the formation of a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to probe the alleged involvement of former president Asif Ali Zardari and his sister in a Rs 3,500 crore money laundering and fake bank accounts case, according to a media report.

In July, the Supreme Court listed Zardari, 63, and his sister Faryal Talpur as beneficiaries in the alleged scam “running into billions of rupees” that led to the arrest of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-chairman’s close aide and famous banker Hussain Lawai.

While hearing the case regarding a delay in the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) probe into the case, the apex court had earlier deliberated over the formation of an investigation team, but said that it would only be constituted once the defence and prosecution lawyers concluded their arguments, Dawn newspaper reported.

The three-judge bench led by Chief Justice of Pakistan Saqib Nisar, however, has not decided who will be a part of the JIT. The apex court is also in favour of halting the proceedings in the trial court.

The case has been described as a “big corruption case”, the report said.

“It is necessary to have a mega corruption case probed by a JIT,” Nisar said while noting that the court had constituted JITs to probe a number of similar cases.

A Federal Investigation Agency JIT has been investigating the 2015 case regarding the fake accounts and fictitious transactions conducted through 29 ‘benami’ accounts in the Summit Bank, the Sindh Bank and the United Bank Limited, the report said.

Seven individuals, including Zardari and Talpur, were said to be involved in using those accounts for suspicious transactions which were initially found to have totalled Rs 3,500 crore. The accounts were allegedly used to channel funds received through kickbacks.

Earlier, Nisar had hinted at constituting a high-power JIT- similar to the one formed in the Panama Papers case against Nawaz Sharif – to probe the money laundering allegations against Zardari and his sister. PTI