ISLAMABAD - The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Tuesday granted interim bail to former president and PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari till June 13 in the fake bank accounts case.

A divisional bench of IHC comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani conducted hearing of the Zardari’s petition seeking bail in the inquiry related to the illegal contracts in the fake bank accounts case and accepted his bail against surety bonds worth of Rs200,000.

During the court proceedings, Zardari’s counsel Farooq H Naek adopted before the court that the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had summoned his client on May 23, in an inquiry related to alleged illegal contracts in the Sindh government. He claimed that there was a threat to his client for being arrested by NAB during his appearance in compliance of NAB notice. He maintained that his client was fully cooperating with NAB. The counsel contended that NAB had not filed a reference against his client related to the above-mentioned matter and prayed the court to stop the anti-graft body from arresting Zardari and grant an interim bail to him.

After the preliminary hearing, the bench had directed the former president to furnish a surety bond of Rs500,000 to secure the bail. However, Zardari’s lawyer, Farooq H Naek requested the judge to reduce the bail amount to Rs200,000.

NAB asked to share references’ copies with fake bank accounts’ accused

At this, Justice Kayani questioned that has Asif Ali Zardari run out of cash? The counsel replied that his client had furnished surety bonds in so many cases that he is left with hardly any money.

According to the NAB, the Harish and Company was awarded a contract for water supply by the Sindh government but failed to complete the projects and the public funds were allegedly used to meet the expense of Naudero House.

After hearing the arguments, the bench accepted the pre-arrest bail of Asif Zardari and served notices to NAB in this connection.

The IHC had already granted pre-arrest bail to Asif Zardari in seven other cases related to mega money laundering and fake bank accounts.

APP adds: An accountability court (AC) on Tuesday directed National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to ensure provision of references copies related to fake bank accounts to all nominated accused including PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari. Expressing displeasure with NAB, the court said that it would initiate legal action against the investigation officer if he failed to share references copies with the accused persons till next hearing.

The court also served show-cause notices to Sindh chief secretary and Karachi jail superintendent for not producing the two accused Abdul Ghani Majeed and Omni Group’s head Anwar Majeed despite the production orders.

Asif Zardari appeared before the Accountability Court along with his sister Faryal Talpur.

During the course of proceeding, the NAB official again requested the court to grant further time to provide references copies to the accused persons. At this, the court said that the accused were appearing before the court regularly but they were not provided references copies so far. The accused had the right to know the charges against them, the court added.

During the hearing, the court was also apprised that an accused Raheel Mubeen could not appear before the court due to suffering from brain hemorrhage and he was under treatment at a Karachi hospital.

The court also rejected the bail plea of two main accused in fake accounts case Hussain Lawai and Taha Raza.

The court, however, granted time to NAB investigation officer to provide references copies to accused and adjourned hearing till May 30th.