News Desk |
Sindh Chief Minister (CM) Murad Ali Shah on Monday appeared before the National Accountability Bureau’s team at headquarter in Islamabad with regards to the billion-rupees-money laundering scandal of fake bank accounts. Murad Ali Shah was asked to appear before the court and provide justifications for the billions’ worth of subsidies awarded to Omni Group sugar mills in the districts of Dadu and Thatta in Sindh. NAB had instructed Shah to present all records related to the Thatta, Pangrio, Sakrand and Khoski sugar mills.
Amidst strict security provisions, CM Shah appeared before the NAB, where he was probed by a six-member team of the watchdog. The session lasted for more than ninety minutes, and after exiting the court, Murad Ali Shah addressed the media and informed of his cooperation with NAB’s investigations. He said, “I was called with regards to an investigation on Thatta Sugar Mills and I have responded to their questions.”
The fake account case was transferred to Islamabad from Karachi as the banking court in Karachi accepted the transfer appeal of NAB.
Referring to the judgments of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT), he noted, “I informed the court that the Paragraph 35 of court’s judgment, dated 7th January 2019, the JIT lawyers noted that the JIT requires more time to carry out a conclusion on the involvement of PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Murad Ali Shah”. He protested that the conclusion of the JIT itself admits that it lacks sufficient evidence.
He stressed that the conclusions of the JIT are baseless, and as far as the involvement of Bilawal Bhutto Zardari is concerned, he noted, “The Chief Justice himself regarded him as innocent”. He stated that I have assured the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) of “my cooperation with their investigation”. Responding to a question on the possibility of high-profile arrests based on the case prepared by the NAB, Murad Ali Shah stressed that “these case are weak”.
CM Shah alleged that the federal government has been planning these arrests since the day the JIT was formed and regarded that it is “immaturity” to think these cases can amount to arrests. He further noted that PPP has suffered “bad experiences in Rawalpindi” and given the fact that the alleged crimes took place in Karachi, PPP’s demands for holding the court proceedings in Karachi is fully justified.
“PPP leaders and I flew to the federal capital on our own expenses. When we arrived here, we were escorted by the police. If the hearing had been in Karachi, I would have quietly gone and recorded the statement,” Shah regretted.
The fake account case was transferred to Islamabad from Karachi as the banking court in Karachi accepted the transfer appeal of NAB. Sources claim that being in government in Sindh, PPP had a strong influence and it was hard for the watchdog to carry on investigations there. PPP had been very critical of the transfer as they see noose around their leadership neck getting tightened with every passing day.