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NAB arrests Faryal Talpur in fake accounts case

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National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Friday detained Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) leader and sister of former president Asif Ali Zardar, Faryal Talpur in case pertaining to fake accounts.

The anti-graft watchgdog authorities have declared her house a sub-jail.

Talpur will be presented before an accountability court on Saturday and the Bureau will appeal for her physical remand.

On Tuesday, former president and Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari had surrendered himself to a team of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) after Islamabad High Court (IHC) rejected Asif Ali Zardari and Faryal Talpur’s pre-arrest bail plea in the money laundering case.

Following the refusal of his pre-arrest bail, a team of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) accompanied by police personnel had reached the residence of PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari in order to arrest him.

Asif Zardari was taken to NAB office in Rawalpindi where he was shifted and to cell no 2. The former president will be presented before the accountability court on Tuesday where the NAB will appeal for his remand.

Heavy contingent of police had been deployed near Zardari House to avoid any untoward incident. All the roads leading to Zardari House had been sealed off.

Small scuffles erupted between police and supporters of Zardari s Pakistan People s Party (PPP) outside his family s residence in Islamabad as he was taken into custody.

On Tuesday, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) had rejected the permanent bail application filed by former president and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur in the mega money laundering case.

Subsequently, the court had allowed the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to arrest both PPP leaders. A two-member division bench comprising of Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kiyani and Justice Aamer Farooq took up the case.

In this regard, the court had sought complete record pertaining to the money laundering accusations against the PPP leaders from the NAB. As the hearing resumed, NAB prosecutor Jahanzeb Bharwana pleaded with the court for 20 minutes to give arguments in the case.

To which, the bench stated: “You have already presented your arguments, while this is hearing for a bail and not an appeal against conviction.”

The NAB prosecutor responded that 29 [fake bank] accounts were traced, according to the FIR lodged in the case, and transactions of Rs4.5 billion were uncovered, and billions of rupees were transferred from A1 International and Umair Associates. He further disclosed that the Zardari Group and the Parthenon Private Limited had conducted transactions with the accounts, and said this was a detail of only one account from the total 29.

NAB is conducting investigations in pursuance of the Supreme Court’s verdict in the money laundering of billions through fake accounts case wherein it forwarded the joint investigation team (JIT) report with directions to investigate and file references.

Earlier, the case was being heard in a banking court in Karachi but had been shifted to an accountability court in Islamabad upon an appeal by the NAB.

Last year, authorities discovered several accounts in the name of poor people that had been flooded with cash, then suddenly emptied. Supreme Court established a commission in September to investigate the scourge, finding that at least US$400 million had passed through “thousands of false accounts”.

Zardari has repeatedly dismissed allegations he had a hand in the scheme. Never popular and always shrouded in controversy, Zardari — who was once jailed for 11 years for corruption — stepped down from the president s office in 2013. But he has continued to serve as co-chairman of the opposition PPP.

The arrest comes as the economy continues to spiral and discontent simmers in Pakistan following repeated devalutions of the rupee, soaring inflation, and rising utility prices.