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Wednesday Jan 26 2022
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Rs1.7b cryptocurrency fraud case: Supreme Court rejects bail plea

A representations of cryptocurrencies in this illustration taken, January 24, 2022. — Reuters/File
A representations of cryptocurrencies in this illustration taken, January 24, 2022. — Reuters/File

  • SC chides NAB for not filing reference against person accused of cryptocurrency fraud.
  • Criminal negligence by NAB for not filing reference even after two years, SC says.
  • Waseem Zeb is accused of being involved in a Rs1.7 billion crypto fraud case.


ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court has rejected the bail application of a person accused of being involved in a Rs1.7 billion cryptocurrency fraud case, The News reported Wednesday.

The apex court again questioned the performance of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and reprimanded its official for an undue delay in filing a reference against the accused person, Waseem Zeb.

A two-member bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice-designate Umer Ata Bandial dismissed the bail application of the accused and directed the anti-graft body to file a reference against him.

During the hearing, Justice Qazi Muhammad Amin Ahmed observed that NAB had been criminally negligent for not filing the reference against the accused even after two years.

At the outset of the hearing, the NAB special prosecutor, while opposing the bail application of the accused submitted before the court, said that Zeb had accumulated Rs1.7 billion from the citizens through fraud and deposited the money in a cryptocurrency account.

The official informed the court that evidence, as well as statements of the affected citizens, are on record.

The counsel for the accused told the court that his client has been accused of taking money from the citizens. However, the receipts of the money are not yet available.

The NAB special prosecutor contended that a digital coin is given to people taking cryptocurrency.

Justice Bandial told the NAB special prosecutor that he has heard about cryptocurrency and bitcoin. "What is this?" he asked.

The NAB special prosecutor replied that citizens were given digital coins in lieu of money.

Justice Ahmed observed that taking money without a receipt is the actual art of the accused. The judge raised questions over the investigation done by the anti-graft body in the instant case and asked the official why the bureau did not trace out the assets of the accused so far.

NAB doesn’t file references against the accused and then courts are blamed for not deciding the cases, he said.

Meanwhile, the court after hearing the parties dismissed the bail application of the accused.