8 men acquitted in forex scam case in Karachi
KARACHI, March 4: A special banking court on Friday exonerated four foreign exchange dealers and as many officials of different banks from all charges of falsification of bank accounts for the purpose of money laundering.
The four forex dealers — Abdul Munaf Kalia, his brother Hanif Kalia, Javed Khanani and Atif Polani — were accused of opening bogus bank accounts with the help of Masood Abbas, Syed Wajahat Ali, Tasleem Ahmed and Arif-ur-Rehman of Allied Bank, Habib Bank and My Bank, respectively, and allegedly using them for unlawful transfer of billions of dollars abroad.
Judge Mir Mohammad Sheikh of the Special Banking Court pronounced his verdict after recording the evidence of witnesses and final arguments from both sides.
The court ruled that the prosecution failed to place sufficient evidence in court in order to prove its case against the accused persons beyond a shadow of a doubt.
The Federal Investigation Agency had arrested Mohammad Javed Khanani and Abdul Munaf Kalia, the directors of the Khanani and Kalia International, on the night of Nov 7, 2008 in Karachi and Lahore, respectively.
Hanif S. Kalia, the chairman of the Kalia Group, was arrested in Clifton on Nov 28.
Later, Atif Polani was also apprehended at Karachi airport following his arrival from Dubai.
The four bank officials were arrested in December 2008.
A case (FIR 76/08) was registered against the accused under Sections 406 (punishment for criminal breach of trust), 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servant, or by banker merchant or agent), 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property), 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating), 471 (using as genuine a forged document), 477-A (falsification of accounts) and 109 (abetment) of the Pakistan Penal Code, Sections 5/8 (restriction on payments/restriction on import and export of certain currency and bullion), 22/23 (false statements/penalty and procedure) of the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act, 1947 read with Section 7 (electronic fraud), 8 (electronic forgery) & 20 (other offences) of the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Ordinance at the FIA crime circle, Karachi.
The special banking court tried the accused in the scheduled offences under the Pakistan Penal Code and exonerated them from all the charges.
The offences against the foreign exchange dealers under the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act, 1947 are being tried by the district and sessions court (south), which is acting as a tribunal as required under Section 23-A (every sessions judge shall, for the areas within the territorial limits of his jurisdiction, be a tribunal for trial of an offence punishable under S. 23) of the Act.
A judicial magistrate has already acquitted the accused in the offences under the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Ordinance.