ISLAMABAD   -    The Combined Investigation Team of National Accountability Bureau has grilled Chairman Pakistan People’s Party Bilawal Bhutto Zardari in Rs1.22 billion case of money laundering through fake bank accounts on Wednesday while party workers clashed with police outside the NAB office

Bilawal Bhutto appeared before a three-member investigation team in the Bureau’s old headquarters building Wednesday. Investigation team asked 32 questions from thke PPP chairman in case regarding taking Rs1.22 billion kickbacks in JV Opal-225 by Zardari Group. Interestingly, sources said, Bilawal gave “Don’t know” answer to 31 out of total 32 questions.

According to sources, Bilawal remained the Chief Executive Officer and Director of M/s Zardari Group Pvt Ltd (ZGPL) from 2010 to 2017. They said Bilawal also owns 2,100 shares of the said company and a joint venture agreement was signed between ZGPL and Bahria Town Pvt Ltd (BTPL) for construction of “Building Project namely Opal 225”. They said BTPL paid Rs1.22 billion to ZGPL without consideration which were received in bank account of ZGPL maintained at Summit Bank, Dolmen City Branch, Karachi.

Sources disclosed that part from Rs153 million has also been received by ZGPL from fake accounts. They said that Bilawal Bhutto Zardari presided over a meeting dated 06 08 2011 as CEO and authorised Faryal Talpur to open and operate the above-mentioned account wherein amounts have been received from fake accounts. They said Bilawal also signed the audited reports of ZGPL along with Faryal Talpur wherein true picture of accounts has not been reflected.

ZGPL utilised Rs1.22 billion for purchase of valuable properties in surroundings of Bilawal House, Karachi. These properties were purchased forcibly and with coercion, they added.

NAB CIT had also summoned ex-president Asif Zardari yesterday in case of illegal award of contracts but he did not appear before the investigation team due to hearing in Islamabad High Court.

A senior NAB officer told The Nation that NAB would summon Bilawal Bhutto after Eid for recording his statement in M/s Park Lane case.

A large number of PPP workers also tried to reach outside the NAB old headquarters building but police did not allow them and arrest over three-dozen on ‘violation the law’.

Meanwhile, police and PPP workers clashed as Chairman Bilawal appeared before the NAB team in connection with the fake accounts case.

Security was tightened in Islamabad ahead of Bilawal’s appearance before NAB Rawalpindi, with roads leading to the office closed for traffic, and the law-enforcement officials deployed around the premises. Upon Bilawal Bhutto’s arrival, the PPP workers chanted slogans in his favour. The police used water cannon and tear gas to stop PPP workers from moving forward and disperse them.

At D-Chowk, the PPP workers and the police broke into a scuffle as the latter attempted to break the cordon. The police baton-charged the workers at several other places as well. According to the police sources, some 35 party workers had been taken into custody. The number included two female MNAs, Mussarat Rafiq Mahesar and Shazia Sobia. A joint interrogation team of the NAB questioned Bilawal for 30 minutes, after which he left the NAB headquarters in sector G-5 of the capital.

PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari accused the federal government of being intolerant as the Islamabad Capital Territory administration asked two neighbouring provinces to bar PPP workers from entering Islamabad ahead of Bilawal’s appearance before the NAB on Wednesday. The ICT administration, through a letter on Tuesday, asked Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab governments to direct their police departments to prevent PPP workers from leaving respective provinces and entering the federal capital.

The notification said that PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari is expected to appear [before] National Accountability Bureau Headquarters on Wednesday. “It is expected that a large number of political workers will gather from different parts of the country which may end up creating law and order situation. Therefore it is requested that home secretaries of K-P and Punjab may be approached to direct their CPO/ DPO/ DC to stop the said workers to enter inside the Islamabad Capital Territory,” said the letter written by District Magistrate to the Interior Ministry. The administration sealed the entry routes to the federal capital in order to stop PPP workers from assembling in Islamabad and reach near to the NAB office.