ISLAMABAD - An Accountability Court (AC) on Monday indicted 14 accused including former president Asif Ali Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur in a reference pertaining to mega money laundering and summoned three prosecution witnesses on October 13, for testimony.

The court sought evidence from National Accountability Bureau (NAB) against the accused after they denied all charges. AC-II Judge Azam Khan conducted hearing on three corruption references against PPP’s top leadership and other co-accused pertaining to the fake accounts scam.

Asif Ali Zardari, Faryal Talpur, Abdul Ghani Majeed, Taha Raza, Hussain Lawai, Arif Khan, Muhammad Umair, Mustafa Zulqernain, Khawaja Suleman, Imran Khan, Muhammad Aurangzeb, Bilal Sheikh and Adeel appeared before the court amid foolproof security arrangements amid judicial complex Islamabad. Omni Group’s head Khawaja Anwar Majeed attended the proceeding through video link.

During the course of proceeding, the judge read out the charge sheet in presence of the accused persons. However, the accused denied all allegations leveled against them in NAB reference.

At this, the court directed the anti graft body to produce three witnesses including Ahsan Aslam, Zahoor Hussain and Muhammad Atif on next date of hearing to record their statements. The NAB had submitted a list of 69 witnesses in this reference.

Meanwhile, the court expressed displeasure over absence of four accused in Park Lane Company and Thatha Water Supply scheme reference and remarked that all accused had been directed to ensure their attendances on this day.  

The defense lawyer said that the accused Sher Ali and his counsel were here in Park Lane case but they went Islamabad High Court (IHC) on a matter during break in the hearing. He said that charges could not be framed on accused until their full attendance. Deputy Prosecutor General Sardar Muzafar Abbasi prayed the court to issue non bailable arrest warrants against the accused for not appearance in compliance of court orders. To this, the court issued bailable arrest warrants against accused Sher Ali and also accepted the request of accused Farooq Abdullah for his appearance through video link.

The court also issued bailable warrants of three other accused in Thatha Water Supply reference due to non appearance and fixed October 5, another date to indict accused in these two references.

Also, Former President Asif Ali Zardari on Monday moved a petition to Islamabad High Court (IHC) seeking his acquittal in mega money laundering and Park Lane references. The petitions were moved through Farouk H. Naek which stated that the fake accounts scam did not fall into the jurisdiction of National Accountability Bureau (NAB). It prayed the court to acquit former president in the case and send the references back to chairman NAB so that the petitioner’s name could be excluded from it.

It may be mentioned here that an accountability court of Islamabad had already dismissed these petitions of Asif Ali Zardari.