ISLAMABAD - The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has converted the inquiry against Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, his father former president Asif Ali Zardari, Faryal Talpur and others into investigation in a joint venture (JV) Opal 255 corruption case in connection of fake bank accounts scam, The Nation has learnt it reliably.

Well placed sources said: “The NAB Rawalpindi has expedited the investigation against the leaderships of the PPP and NAB has given approved formal investigation into the alleged financial irregularities through JV Opal 255 after the completion of an inquiry.

They said, NAB’s Rawalpindi Bureau had recommended the headquarters to convert the inquiry into investigation which was approved by the chairman Justice Retd Javed Iqbal. 

Earlier, Bureau’s eight-member investigation team had visited Sindh and collected evidence against Zardari and others in illegal award of contract for Solar, JV Opal-225 and Park Lane Company in connection with money laundering through fake bank accounts case. Investigation team had visited different cities, including Larkana, Sukkur, Hyderabad and Karachi and recorded statements of different government officials and collected documentary evidences in these cases.

In December 2019, NAB Rawalpindi had summoned Bilawal Bhutto in JV-Opal-225, a joint venture of Zardari Grorup in corruption case for his recording his statement but he did not appear before the probe team.

The Opal-225 (referred in tax record is a joint investment of Zardari Group Ltd) was initiated on October 15, 2011. In 2009, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and his father became shareholders of the company. Both of them have a stake of 25 per cent each in the company. Allegedly, billions of rupees were transferred to the company’s accounts via fake bank accounts. The company took out loans of billions of rupees from the banks.

Yesterday, NAB Justice Chairman (R) Javed Iqbal directed action against all those prosecutors, investigation officers in arguing the NAB cases without proper and ill preparations.

The NAB chairman has issued directives to all director generals of NAB to ensure that the prosecutors, investigation officers must appear in the courts with complete preparations on the basis of solid evidence as per law.

The NAB chairman will himself oversee the arguments of NAB prosecutors after court proceedings especially preparedness in mega corruption cases.