Moonis surrenders to FIA after bail plea rejection
LAHORE, March 17: MPA Moonis Elahi of the PML-Q surrendered to the Federal Investigation Agency on Thursday after a Lahore High Court division bench rejected his application for pre-arrest bail in the National Insurance Company (NICL) scam.
The legislator from Gujrat, who is son of former chief minister of Punjab Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, is accused of embezzling Rs320 million.
Police did not arrest him after rejection of the bail petition and Moonis left the court along with workers of his party. About two hours later, he reached FIA`s Punjab headquarters on Temple Road and surrendered himself.
Talking to reporters before leaving the high court, he said he was being implicated in false cases. “I will contest all these fabricated cases.”
Senior lawyers S.M. Zafar and Dr Khalid Ranjha who appeared for Moonis in the court of Chief Justice Ijaz Chaudhry said their client was being politically victimised. They said the FIA investigation was based on mala fide intentions.
“My client is not nominated in the case,” Advocate Zafar said. He pointed out that the main accused, including Habibullah Warraich, were already on bail.
Referring to the FIR, he said it had been alleged by Mohammad Maalick, the arrested manager of Moonis, that Rs320 million had been transferred to two fake bank accounts of the MPA but the FIA had failed to present any direct evidence.
He said the report prepared by the investigating officer had also failed to establish any role of Moonis in the scam.
On court`s query, the counsel said Maalick was an employee of Moonis. He was doing business with Mohsin Warraich and had set up the company on the basis of which the FIA was taking action against the PML-Q leader.
FIA official Zafar Qureshi said 20 kanals and two marlas of land had been purchased through fake bank accounts on payment of Rs1.6 billion, but the value of the property had been determined as Rs560 million.
During investigation, he said, it was revealed that an additional Rs500 million had gone to Moonis because it had been transferred to the account of his manager.
The official said the owner of Adil Traders was also involved in the scam and had been found to be an employee of Punjab Sugar Mills. After his arrest, he stated that he was a poor man and had nothing to do with the embezzlement. He said only his identity card had been used in the scam, Mr Qureshi told the court.
He said Mohsin Warraich was still at large and no claimant had come forward to join the investigation.
He said an embezzled amount of Rs.1.68 billion had been recovered and returned to the NICL, but Rs320 million transferred to Moonis was still to be recovered.
The bench comprising Chief Justice Ijaz Chaudhry and Justice Ijazul Ahsan cancelled the bail granted to the accused on March 10.
A large number of PML-Q workers present outside the court chanted slogans in favour of their leader. A lawyer belonging to the PML-Q, Amir Saeed Raawn, hurled abuses at Zafar Qureshi when he was escorted by Rangers out of the court premises from the judges` gate.