Zardari arrested by NAB in fake accounts case

Islamabad: Former Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari was on Monday arrested by the country’s anti-corruption body in a fake bank accounts case.

A 15-member team of National Accountability Bureau (NAB) officials, accompanied by police personnel, arrested the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) co-Chairman from his residence in Islamabad, Geo News reported.

All roads leading to Zardari’s residence were blocked by the police.

The arrest came hours after an Islamabad High Court (IHC) bench rejected a plea by Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur seeking an extension in their interim bail in the case related to transactions of hundreds of millions of rupees to the two leaders’ private companies allegedly through fake bank accounts.

Issuing its orders, the High Court permitted the NAB authorities to carry out the arrest of Zardari and Faryal Talpur. Police personnel, including women officials, entered the former President’s house after the court decision.

The warrants for the former President were apparently issued on Sunday, while no warrants have been issued for Talpur as yet, Dawn newspaper reported.

According to Geo News, the NAB is expected to keep Zardari in the bureau’s lockup. Zardari and Talpur now have the option of appealing the IHC judgment in the apex court.

The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) is investigating 32 people in relation to money laundering from fictitious accounts, including Zardari and Talpur. Zardari’s close aide Hussain Lawai was arrested in July 2018 in connection with the probe.

The former President’s other close aides, Omni Group Chairman Anwar Majeed and his son, Abdul Ghani, were arrested by the FIA in August 2018.

Over 20 “benami” accounts at some private banks were opened in 2013, 2014 and 2015 from where transactions worth billions of rupees were made, reports say.

The amount is said to be black money gathered from various kickbacks, commissions and bribes.

A spokesperson for PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar, appealed to the party supporters across the country to remain peaceful.