The Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday formed a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to probe alleged laundering of billions of rupees through fake bank accounts in connivance with bankers and others to suspected beneficiaries, including former president Asif Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur.
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 Rs35 billion. The accounts were allegedly used to channel funds received through kickbacks.
FIA’s Additional Director General (Economic Crime Wing) Ehsan Sadiq has been appointed as the head of the JIT by the apex court.
The other members of the JIT include Brigadier Shahid Parvez of Inter-Services Intelligence, Muhammad Afzal of Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan, NAB Islamabad Director Noman Aslam, Majid Hussain of State Bank of Pakistan and Tax Commissioner Imran Latif Minhas.
The JIT, its members and members of the FIA have been directed not to provide the media with any information regarding the investigation.
Moreover, Pakistan Rangers have been tasked to provide adequate security to the team. This has been done to address the DG FIA’s apprehensions regarding the JIT’s security.
The apex court has given the following mandate to the JIT:
The JIT shall set up its Secretariat at a place convenient to it.
The JIT shall have all powers relating to inquiries and investigations including those available in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1908; National Accountability Ordinance, 1999; Federal Investigation Agency Act, 1974 and the Anti Corruption Laws, etc.
All executive authorities or agencies in the country shall render assistance and provide support to the JIT in its working, if required.
The JIT shall submit periodic reports before this court qua the progress made in the investigation on fortnightly basis under sealed cover for our examination.
The Additional Director General, FIA, who shall head the JIT may co-opt any other expert who may in his opinion be necessary to complete the investigation in an effective and timely manner.
First Report of the JIT shall be filed within a period of 15 days from today.
The court has rejected the request to move this investigation to Islamabad at the moment. However, room has been left for the request to be reexamined, should the need arise.
The case will now be heard in the Supreme Court on September 24.
Earlier this week, while hearing a suo motu case regarding a delay in the FIA probe into the case, the SC had deliberated over the formation of an investigation team, but said that it would only be constituted once the defence and prosecution lawyers conclude their arguments.