ISLAMABAD (Dunya News) – An accountability court in Islamabad on Monday extended physical remand of former president Asif Ali Zardari till July 29 in the Park Lane reference.
The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Rawalpindi sought extension in Zardari’s remand for further investigation into the case.
Zardari was scheduled to appear before accountability court judge Arshad Malik; however after the removal of the judge from his position till the investigation into a controversial video of him with PML-N’s Nasir Butt, a duty judge will preside over the hearing today.
Meanwhile, police have ensured strict security arrangements outside the judicial complex and the adjoining roads are blocked for routine traffic. The litigant public is also denied entry towards the courthouse.
On July 2, the court extended Zardari’s remand for another 13 days in the same case.
According to details, the Park Lane case is being investigated under different sections of the National Accountability Ordinance, NAO 1999, and the Anti-Money Laundering Act, 2010, for Zardari’s alleged involvement in extending loan and its misappropriation by M/s Parthenon Private Limited.
Allegedly, the Park Lane company was falsely presented as Parthenon (Pvt) Limited for taking a staggering loan of Rs1.5 billion from the National Bank of Pakistan. Afterwards, when the amount was withdrawn in cash, no whereabouts of the company were found.
On March 20, the NAB Rawalpindi had handed over questionnaires comprising 54 questions each to Zardari and his son Bilawal in three cases including Park Lane Estate reference, and subsequently directed them to submit their response within 10 days.
The members of a joint investigation team (JIT) of the anti-graft watchdog had recorded their statements after 2 hours of interrogation at the bureau’s office in Rawalpindi concerning accusations over Park Lane Estate Company (Pvt) Ltd - a Karachi-based real estate firm co-owned by Zardari and Bilawal.
On April 13, Zardari had submitted his written response to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Rawalpindi on 54 questions in connection with three cases against him, including Park Lane Estate, Pink Residency, and fake accounts and money laundering.
According to sources, Zardari had acquired the company illegally through a front man, Iqbal Memon, in 1989. In 2009, Zardari and Bilawal became shareholders of the company.
Moreover, both of them have a stake of 25 percent each in the company and Zardari had the authority to use the company accounts at his discretion as the director of the firm.
Allegedly, billions of rupees were transferred to the company’s accounts via fake bank accounts while the company documents dating back to the year 2008 show Zardari’s signatures as the director. The company took out loans of billions of rupees from the banks.
On June 10, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) rejected bail applications of Zardari and his sibling Faryal Talpur, after which both of them were arrested by the NAB.