time Wednesday Jun 15 2022

FIA files Rs720 million money laundering case against PML-Q's Moonis Elahi

PML-Q leader and formal federal minister for water resources Moonis Elahi. — Twitter/@MoonisElahi6
PML-Q leader and formal federal minister for water resources Moonis Elahi. — Twitter/@MoonisElahi6

The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on Wednesday said it has filed a case against former federal minister and PML-Q leader Moonis Elahi.

The case, according to the agency, pertains to alleged money laundering, of Rs720 million and has been registered against Moonis Elahi and others.

It was registered following a report by the FIA Anti-Corruption Circle, the first information report (FIR) said.

According to the FIR, a probe against Moonis under the Money Laundering Act was started two years ago.

The FIR further said that the report by the Sugar Commission said that Moonis had allegedly engaged in money laundering.

It should be noted that last year, former prime minister Imran Khan had tasked the FIA to investigate the sugar crisis throughout the country and find out who benefited from it.

Subsequently, a report by the agency released last year claimed that top PTI members as well as Moonis were among those who had allegedly gained from the sugar crisis in the country.

In addition, a money laundering case has been filed against Nawaz Bhatti, nephew of Muhammad Khan Bhatti, the secretary of Punjab Assembly, and Mazhar Iqbal, a peon at RYK Sugar Mills, said the FIR.

FIA said that both Bhatti and Iqbal have been arrested.

The FIR added that raids are being conducted for the arrest of another nephew of the Punjab Assembly secretary, Wajid Bhatti.

The development follows reports earlier this week that the FIA had decided to move against Moonis.

FIA sources said on Sunday that "sufficient evidence" has been collected against Moonis after which the agency decided to formally start an investigation against him.

Responding to the development then, Moonis took to his official Twitter account and wrote "Bismillah" while sharing a screenshot of the news, indicating that he welcomes the move.

Today, he was just as defiant, tweeting: "Do what you will. I appeared (in court) before and will appear again. Wait for me. I am coming."

'Punishment for not listening to them'

Speaking to Geo News later, Moonis Elahi said he "received no notice" from the FIA and "would have appeared" before the FIA if he had.

He said that the investigation agency had "simply issued a press release" and he only found out from the media yesterday that an FIR had been filed against him.

"They missed a legal step and then sent out teams to arrest me," Moonis said.

"I told them why are you dispatching teams for my arrest. I myself will come over to the FIA office. Fuel has become so costly as it is, why waste it?" he added.

The PML-Q leader said that as he speaks, he is on his way from Islamabad to Lahore to go to FIA's office.

"There they may question me, arrest me, torture me if they will. But these idiots must understand that despite all these moves, we will not stop our support for the PTI or for Imran Khan," Moonis said.

Speaking of Hamza Shahbaz, he said: "Was this his purpose of becoming chief minister (Punjab)? To issue arrest warrants against me?"

"They are simply punishing us for the fact that we did not listen to them."

Moonis was referring to attempts by the coalition parties to gain PML-Q's support to oust the former prime minister, who was voted out in a no-confidence vote.

He said that he had "never heard" of the other two suspects in the case and that he has declared his investment in sugar mills.

'Gift from Imran Khan'

Meanwhile, Minister for Interior Rana Sanaullah said that Moonis "must not express such annoyance and must know that this is a gift from Imran Khan that these revelations came to the fore due to the probe by the Sugar Inquiry Commission".

Sanaullah said that the inquiry was completed in Imran Khan's tenure and it was "decided at the time that Moonis Elahi be arrested".

"Moonis Elahi himself told me [this] when we went over to his house for talks regarding chief ministership and Chaudhry Pervez Elahi was present. He (Moonis) himself said attempts were made to arrest him," the interior minister said, also quoting Moonis as saying: "Just look at what the prime minister has become."

He said that the RYK Sugar Mills were bought under the names of two people: Muhammad Khan Bhatti, "who came to Chaudhry Pervez Elahi when he was in Grade 4 and is now a Grade 21 officer" and the other, Mazhar Hussain, was a student then, and was later made an employee of the land record department.

According to Sanaullah, between 2011 and 2013, a private company was formed by Moonis Elahi which "purchased all the shares" of the sugar mill.

"This is a clear case of 2+2=4. This is ill-gotten wealth and is money laundering," he said.