The Supreme Court ordered on Wednesday to form a joint investigation team to probe the money laundering case involving Rs35 billion funneled through fake bank accounts at three local banks.
The names of the JIT members will be announced at an appropriate time, the court said. The Pakistan Rangers will provide security to the members of the investigation team.
Earlier on August 28, an FIA team submitted its investigation report to the court, requesting it to form a JIT to further probe the money laundering scandal. The FIA had proposed to form a six-member JIT including personnel of the SECP, the State Bank, the Federal Board of Revenue and officers from the ISI and the MI.
During the earlier case hearing, Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar had hinted that a Panama-like JIT could be formed in the case.
When Justice Umar Ata Bandial questioned the need to include the ISI and the MI officers in JIT, the FIA DG Bashir Memon said that this will enable them to trace sensitive information and gain access to call records. The DG also requested the court to allow the JIT to operate in Islamabad arguing that the FIA officers are facing security issues in Karachi. However, the court denied the request.
The court has been hearing a suo motu case which revolves around a 2015 inquiry into suspicious transactions when 29 ‘benami’ accounts were opened in different banks.
Those involved in the case include PPP co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari, his sister Faryal Talpur, former Summit Bank president Hussain Lawai, Omni Group of Companies chairperson Khawaja Anwar Majeed and his sons, among others. Lawai, Anwar Majeed and his son is already in FIA’s custody.
On Wednesday, the chief justice inquired about the Rs35 billion once again. “Who did the money belong to and where has it gone?” This is not a small scandal, the chief justice added.
The court also summoned the medical report of Abdul Ghani Majeed, one of the sons of Anwar Majeed. Abdul Ghani is seeking treatment at a hospital after he fell sick following his arrest in the money laundering case.
On hearing this, the top judge commented that everyone who gets arrested fall sick soon after.