KARACHI  -  A local court in Karachi on Saturday sent former Pakistan Stock Exchange chairperson Hussain Lawai and senior vice president of Summit Bank Taha Raza on a judicial remand.

The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) produced the accused before a judicial magistrate and pleaded for extension in their physical remand for further interrogation. The court rejected their plea after defence lawyer Shaukat Hayat opposed the plea and said there was no need to keep his client in further custody.

The FIA official informed the court that the accused were produced before the apex court in Islamabad in a case pertaining to money laundering after the Supreme Court had taken suo motu notice in this regard.

“The Supreme Court sent the matter to the trial court after it was informed that the case was reopened after four years,” said Saukat Hayat. He said the apex court was also informed that nothing was proved against his client during the investigation in the past.

On the query of the court, the investigation officer replied that enough evidences had been collected against the accused to prove their involvement in the money laundering case. He said that bank accounts were also   traced that were used for illegal money transactions. He requested the court to extend the physical remand of the accused.

Accused Hussain Lawai and Taha Raza have submitted bail applications. The court issued notices to the prosecution to submit comments till July 23. The accused also filed pleas seeking B class in the prison.

Earlier, the FIA official submitted that no record was provided since beginning of the investigation in January this year. The official submitted that 28 more bank accounts are required to be traced on pointation of the accused. He said that several people, including Lawai, are being investigated for laundering billions of rupees through 'benami' or fictitious bank accounts.

According to the prosecution, the accused were involved in facilitating opening of 29 ‘fake’ accounts in Summit Bank, Sindh Bank and the United Bank Limited, billions of rupees were deposited into the said fake accounts and subsequently transferred to different accounts, including accounts of PPP Chairperson Asif Ali Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur's company Zardari Group. The company is shown to have received Rs15 million.

The biggest transfer made out of the alleged fake accounts was to an Arab national, Nasser Abdulla Hussain Lootah, who is chairman of Summit Bank’s board of directors.

The FIA on July 6 had arrested the accused in connection with a mega money-laundering scandal involving Rs35 billion.




Our Staff Reporter