The infamous case of former accountability judge Arshad Malik’s “immoral video” took another turn on Monday when a cybercrimes court in Islamabad ordered transfer of the case to anti-terrorism court (ATC) for further proceedings.

As the hearing of the case resumed, an investigation officer of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) told the court that the suspects have been identified as Hamza Arif Butt and Faisal Shaheen.

To this, the judge asked the officer about the claims made in the previous application. Responding to the court, the officer told that same suspects were identified in the prior application.

Contrarily, suspects’ defense counsel pleaded with the court to reject transfer of the case to the ATC as terrorism clauses were inapplicable to the case.

To this, the judge remarked that clauses of terrorism had already been added in the case and therefore it needed to be transferred to the ATC.

On September 30, the court expressed displeasure at the FIA for not submitting a final charge sheet in the same case. Subsequently, the court directed the agency to file the charge sheet by Oct 7.

On Sept 23, Cybercrimes court judge Tahir Mehmood Khan had directed the FIA to submit the charge sheet after the investigation agency in the interim charge sheet informed the court that the inquiry into the case had been transferred from the cybercrime wing to the counterterrorism wing.

The transfer of the inquiry happened on the complaint of former judge Malik as the cybercrime wing released three suspects who allegedly blackmailed the judge for the acquittal of former premier Nawaz Sharif in the Al-Azizia reference.

Malik had convicted Sharif in the Flagship reference and in a secretly recorded video confessed to convicting Sharif under duress. Later, he, in his affidavit, accused Nasir Janjua, Mahar Ghulam Jilani and Khurram Yousaf of pressurising him for a favourable judgement because of his immoral video.

Earlier in September, a local court had acquitted the three suspects namely Nasir Janjua, Mahar Ghulam Jilani and Khurram Yousaf over lack of evidence in the FIA’s report. They had been sent on a five-day physical remand under the FIA custody for further investigation into the case.

Judicial Magistrate Saqib Jawad had ordered removal of three accused persons’ names from the case.

On September 2, the FIA had arrested Nasir Janjua, Mahar Ghulam Jilani and Khurram Yousaf from the Cyber Crime Court following the dismissal of their pre-arrest bail.

Moreover, civil judge Shaista Kundi had rescued herself from hearing proceedings against three suspects, who had been detained by the FIA, for interrogation in the same case.

Sources familiar with the matter revealed that the judge was approached for the acquittal of the three suspects from the concerned parties. However, judge Kundi reported the Islamabad High Court (IHC) and excused herself from the case.

Later, she was issued an appreciation certificate for her code of conduct and discipline by Chief Justice Athar Minallah.

Malik was removed from his position after the video was released and has been repatriated to the Lahore High Court where disciplinary proceedings against him will be held.