KARACHI - A banking court on Tuesday extended the interim bail of former president Asif Ali Zardari his sister Faryal Talpur and others in a case pertaining to illegal transaction of at least Rs35 billion through fake accounts.

The banking court conducted hearing of money laundering case, wherein PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari did not appear before the court as his lawyer submitted an application sought exemption from appearing in the court.

Zardari’s lawyer apprised the court that his client was in Islamabad for the voting of presidential election hence he could not attend the hearing. He requested the court to grant his plea.

The defence counsel also pleaded the court to extend his interim bail in the case, the court allowed his pleas to extend the interim until September 25, and also granted his plea for exemption for appearing in the court.

Pakistan People Party leader Faryal Talpur appeared before the court and her lawyer has also submitted an application sought extension of interim bail. The court after hearing conclusion of the arguments has extended the bail of the PPP leader for the next hearing.

Zardari had obtained a protective bail from the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on August 18, later he got interim bail from the banking court.

In Tuesday’s proceeding, the other accused Anwar Majeed closed alias of Zardari, and his son Abdul Ghani Majeed were not produced in court.

The court adjourned the hearing with the direction to produce the accused in the next hearing to be held on September 25.

The court has also heard concluding arguments from both the sides on an application filed by the main accused former Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) chairman Hussain Lawai’s seeking B-class (better-class) facilities in jail.

The main accused Hussain Lawai has been under treatment at the National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NICVD) after suffering a heart attack.

During the hearing on Lawai’s plea, the court inquired that if the suspect is under treatment at a hospital so why does he require B-class facilities in the prison.

The defense counsel replied that his client is old and is suffering from a heart disease. The high profile money laundering case was initially registered in 2015 against former Pakistan Stock Exchange chairman Hussain Lawai, who is widely believed to be a friend of former president Zardari.

Later, seven individuals, including Zardari and Talpur, were said to have been found involved in using those accounts for suspicious transactions which totaled Rs35 billion. The accounts were allegedly used to channel funds received through kickbacks.

The main suspects Lawai and banker Taha Raza were booked for allegedly facilitating the opening of 29 ‘fake’ accounts through which the money was allegedly laundered through different companies, including M/s Zardari Group.

In its interim charge sheet, the FIA had declared the former president, MPA Faryal Talpur, Anwar Majeed, Abdul Ghani Majeed, Aslam Masood, Mohammad Arif Khan, Adeel Shah Rashidi, Nasser Abdullah Hussain, Mohammad Ashraf, Adnan Jawed, Mohammad Umair, Iqbal Arain, Qasim Ali, Shahzad Ali, Azam Wazir Khan, Sher Mohammad Mugheri, Zain Malik, Mohammad Iqbal Khan Noori, Nimr Majid and Mustafa Zulqernain absconders.