Sunday, February 6, 2011

Warrants issued for Moonis Elahi’s arrest

FIA seeking extradition; Interpol, UK, UAE authorities alerted

ISLAMABAD: Immigration officials at airports across the country have been put on alert to arrest Moonis Elahi, the son of former Punjab Chief Minister Pervaiz Elahi, for his alleged involvement in the multi-billion rupee National Insurance Companyfraud case.

The move comes at the end of a deadline set by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) for Elahi to come forth and cooperate with the investigation, as his counsel claimed he planned to do in a petition filed earlier last month. In the petition, Elahi’s lawyer said that his client would appear in front of the investigation team by February 5.

“Immigration staff of all the airports has been put on high alert to arrest Moonis as his plane lands in the country,” said a senior official of FIA to The Express Tribune, on the condition of anonymity.

Elahi was expected to reach Lahore from Britain via an Etihad Airlines flight on Saturday but he did not arrive in the country. Following Elahi’s non-appearance, the FIA issued a warrant for his arrest and alerted all immigration officials at airports. The agency also sent a request to Interpol as well as law enforcement authorities in the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates, requesting Elahi’s extradition.

The names of Elahi, as well as the others accused in the case, had already been placed on the exit control list, which immigrationofficials use to prevent criminals and people under investigation form leading the country.

However, Kamal Ali Agha – the information secretary for Elahi’s political party, the PML(Q) – denied allegations that Moonis Elahi was not cooperating with the investigation. He claimed that Elahi was unable to return to Pakistan as he had not been able to get a confirmed ticket for the flight.

The NICL fraud case is being investigated by one of the FIA’s senior-most officials, Zafar Ahmed Qureshi. The case is currently being heard in the Supreme Court.

The case revolves around five allegedly fraudulent transactions involving senior NICL officials and private firms linked to leading businessmen and politicians. Three of the transactions involve land in Karachi, including two fraudulent purchases of land worth Rs2.7 billion and a Rs27 million contract to renovate NICL headquarters in Karachi, allegedly by a company that used irregular means to obtain the contract. Two other transactions, involving more than 100 acres of land and Rs3.4 billion, were also alleged to have been conducted with irregularities.


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