Moonis Elahi case damaged because of politics
07 July, 2011
ISLAMABAD: If Zafar Qureshi, the suspended Additional Director General of the FIA, returns as chief investigator of the NICL scam he will have to start from the beginning to establish allegations against Moonis Elahi as the case at hand has already been destroyed by the present team, legal experts believe.
It is also believed that things would have been different had the case been fought as a normal case and not as a political one. The backtracking of over a dozen prosecution witnesses and the declaration by FIA’s investigating officer that Moonis was innocent has destroyed the entire case, the experts say.
Details reveal that on May 25 some eight witnesses produced against Moonis Elahi by FIA retracted from their statements before the court. All the eight witnesses told the court that they had never recorded any statement with the FIA. All the eight witnesses were the employees of Allied Bank Limited, the bank in which an account was traced by Zafar Qureshi which appeared to be suspicious and the latter was declared to be of Moonis Elahi’s front man.
While on June 29 three more prosecution witnesses denied recording any statement before the FIA against Moonis Elahi in the NICL scam case. The prosecution witnesses, Safdar, Hafiz Junaid and Mahroofur Rehman, employees of the Allied Bank Limited, Multan Road branch submitted that they had not recorded any statement under 161 CrPC before the FIA investigation team against Moonis Elahi.
The FIA alleged that Moonis had opened bogus accounts in the name of his manager, Abdul Maalick, and his wife for corruption in the NICL. Later, the agency lodged two FIRs against Moonis, alleging that his manger Muhammad Maalick had opened forged accounts in the Allied Bank Limited, New Airport, and Dubai Islamic Bank, Main Boulevard branch. Mohsin Warraich deposited huge amount of money in both accounts. The first FIR was registered on December 27, 2010 while the second was lodged on January 27, 2011. The FIA alleged that the money was actually taken by Moonis Elahi. The FIA report further quoted Maalick as saying that he had opened an account on the instruction of Moonis and an amount of Rs320 million was allegedly transferred to the account.
In the absence of Zafar Qureshi, the Investigation Officer of the case also submitted in the court that FIA did not find Moonis Elahi’s involvement in the NICL scam. In his testimony before special banking offences court, the FIA director, Basharat Shahzad stated that Moonis was not directly involved in subsequent two fraud cases of Rs320 million.
Meanwhile, during the same hearing, another prosecution witness, Hina Rabbai, an employee of the Allied Bank Limited, also denied recording any statement as witness before the FIA.
Senior lawyer and former President Lahore Bar Association Manzoor Qadir while commenting upon the current status of Moonis Elahi’s case said that the case has been destroyed and there was nothing left in the case against Moonis. “If Zafar Qureshi comes back and produces new evidences then the case can take a twist,” said the lawyer. He held that instead of making it politicised, the case should have been fought in courts.
Manzoor Qadir said that all the witnesses have backtracked from their statements in Moonis Elahi’s case; the account in the bank was not in the name of Moonis and the FIA’s investigator has submitted Moonis Elahi’s innocence in the court, therefore, legally there was nothing left in the case. He said that if Zafar Qureshi is allowed to investigate the case again, he can submit his findings in supplementary challan till announcement of the judgement. He said that what the witnesses will say before the court will be termed authentic and not what they had already revealed before the FIA.
While another senior lawyer from Lahore, Azhar Siddique Advocate says that the documentary evidence was there in the case which cannot be changed but even then the case has been made so weak by FIA in Zafar Qureshi’s absence that prima facia there was no evidence available against Moonis on record. He said that the report of FIA’s investigating officer was not binding on the court and any upright officer can dig many things out of it, if not Zafar Qureshi.