Fake bank accounts case: Zardari seeks larger bench to hear review petition

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Pakistan Peoples Party president Asif Ali Zardari on Tuesday appealed for a larger Supreme Court bench to hear his review petition in the long-running money laundering and fake bank accounts case.

Zardari’s lawyer, Advocate Latif Khosa, filed a separate plea on the former president’s behalf for constitution of a larger bench, as the court heard review petitions filed by Zardari, his sister Faryal Talpur and Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah requesting it to restrain the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) from probing the fake accounts case.
The latest plea argues that the matter was discussed on the occasion of the former chief justice’s full court reference, and the attorney general, Pakistan Bar Council as well as the Supreme Court had given their respective opinions on it.
Contending the court’s jurisdiction, the plea states that several judges from the top judiciary are also in favour of determining the limits to the suo motu powers, and hence, a larger bench should be constituted.
In his review petition, Zardari has urged the top court to restrain the FIA and joint investigation team from probing the case.
According to the petition, the Supreme Court verdict that was passed last month had directed the JIT formed to probe the case to assist the National Accountability Bureau. The JIT is, however, still carrying out a “parallel inquiry”, it stated.
The case
The FIA is investigating 32 people in relation to money laundering from fictitious accounts, including Zardari and Talpur. Zardari’s close aide Hussain Lawai was arrested in July in connection with the probe.
The former president’s other close aide and Omni Group chairman Anwar Majeed a close aide and Omni Group chairman and his son, Abdul Ghani, were arrested by FIA in August.
Over 20 ‘benami’ accounts at some private banks were opened in 2013, 2014 and 2015 from where transactions worth billions of rupees were made, according to sources.
The amount, according to FIA sources, is said to be black money gathered from various kickbacks, commissions and bribes.

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