ISLAMABAD  -   The joint investigation team, which probed the alleged money laundering to the tune of billions of rupees through fake bank accounts, on Saturday moved an application in the Supreme Court requesting to issue directions for freezing 37 assets of Co-Chairpersons Pakistan People’s Party Asif Ali Zardari and his family members.

The fact-finding JIT also asked for freezing the assets of Omni Group owned by close aide of Zardari who is also primary accused, and the group’s subsidiary companies.

Earlier, the top court had expressed displeasure on the decision of federal cabinet regarding placement of names of all 172 accused persons on the Exit Control List (ECL) on the recommendation of JIT which triggered tumult among the political parties. The top court had ordered the federal government to reconsider the matter.

Subsequently, the federal cabinet on January 3 decided to refer the list of 172 suspects placed on ECL to a review committee of the Ministry of Interior for examining case of each suspect and decide the matter whether the name should be placed on ECL or otherwise.

However, in a latest development in the case, JIT’s Counsel Faisal Siddiqui moved the application along with the assets of Zardari, his son and PPP’s Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Omni Group.

The application further stated that the evidence brought to the record during the JIT investigation clearly indicates that Zardari and Omni Groups which started with a paid-up capital of Rs600 in 1981 and Rs6000 in 2001 respectively amassed assets through misappropriation of loans, government funds, kickbacks and proceeds of crime.

“The available evidence suggests that these groups have history of laundering their illegal proceeds abroad through Hundi/various channels of Hawala.”

“The Supreme Court is requested to freeze the assets of Zardari and Omni Groups held through various subsidiary and front companies and assets held in the name of their directors, pending the final adjudication by the accountability courts.”

The JIT explained the reason for making request to top court for freezing assets stating, “lest this ‘money laundering cartel’, shifts their assets, abroad.”

The application also explained the methods of misappropriation of loans which included government funds, kickbacks and proceeds of crime.

“It would be pertinent to point out here that IBSC was identified to be a ‘Benami’ of Mr Asif Ali Zardari held in the name of his then frontman Iqbal Memon (International Builders) and was frozen in 1998. Iqbal Memon, got exposed and left the country for Canada. However, that property changed hands in 2000 through AR Developers (Nasir Jamal) and ultimately came back again in 2008 to be held by Mr Asif Ali Zardari, this time through M/s Park Lane Pvt Ltd,” the application stated.

“Similarly, Plots C5 & 6, Clifton, Karachi were identified and frozen in 1998 (as per Ehtisab Commission report in Ehtisab Reference No. 26/1998) as ‘Benami’ of Mr Asif Ali Zardari held in the name of M/s Galaxy Construction, owned by his then frontman Saleem Akhter. This property has also again come back to be held by Mr Asif Ali Zardari through M/s Galaxy Construction owned by his present frontman Dr Dinshaw Hoshang Ankleseria,” the application further stated.

Not only freezing of assets, the JIT also recommended the top court to issue direction restraining Security and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) not to change the ownership of the companies involved in the matter.

“In view of the aforementioned facts, in addition to freezing the assets, it is recommended that SECP may be directed not to change the ownership through the change of directors of any of the companies holding assets,” the application added.

The list of the assets held by Zardari Group, its Directors and frontment include Opal 225 Karachi,  Bahria Icon Twin Tower, IBSC Karachi, Tando Allah Yar Farms, Tando Allah Yar (Chamber Farms), Deh Nusrat Daur (Nawabshah) Farms,  Houses F-1, F-2, F-3, F-4 and F-5, F-5/1 , F-6, D-23, D-25 and D-34  in Block-3 Clifton Karachi.

The list also include Bilawal House Lahore, 31-35 Acres land Deh Safooran Taluka, 7 Acres Land in Gulistan-e-Jauhar Karachi, 24 Acres Land in Sector 31 & 47 of Scheme 33 KDA, House No. 8 in Street 19 F-8/2 Islamabad, House D-75 in Block-5 Clifton Karachi, House 19 in St.28 Phase V Ext. DHA Khayaban-e-Shamsher Karachi, 2 Bullet Proof BMWs 760 both Islamabad registered, one Bullet Proof Lexus 570 Islamabad registered, two bullet proof Mitsubishi SUVs registered in Islamabad and other assets.

According to the application details of real estate held in Karachi and Sindh Interior in the name of Zardari Group, Park Lane, Mussawat News Pvt Ltd, Gold Field Cattle Farming Company Pvt Ltd, or in the name major shareholders of Zardari Group have not been provided to JIT by Commissioners/DCs despite requests.

List submitted by the JIT also include assets of different nature held by Omni Group and its directors and the list of 51 subsidiary companies of Omni Group.