LAHORE: A top officer of Pakistan's top investigative agency who was probing the PKR 14 billion money laundering charges against the joint Opposition's prime ministerial candidate Shehbaz Sharif has gone on leave for indefinite period after Imran Khan was voted out in a no-confidence motion.
Federal Investigation Agency's Lahore chief Mohammad Rizwan's application to go on leave with effect from April 11, 2022, onward, has been accepted, according to an official notification on Sunday.
Rizwan's decision came a day before Shehbaz and his son Hamza are to appear before a special court for indictment on Monday.
The special court (Central-I) of FIA on April 4 had summoned Shehbaz and Hamza on Monday (April 11) to indict the father and son duo in the Rs 14 billion money laundering case.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) president Shehbaz is likely to seek exemption from appearance as he is to contest for the prime minister's office in Parliament the same day.
Shehbaz filed the nomination papers for the slot of the prime minister on Sunday.
From Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), former foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi is the candidate for the position.
FIA officer Rizwan has reportedly said that he has gone on leave anticipating his "certain transfer".
Rizwan was said to be the appointee Shehzad Akbar, former accountability adviser to the premier, to vigorously pursue cases against Shehbaz and his family members.
Later Imran Khan sacked Akbar for failing to get Shehbaz convicted in the money laundering case.
Of late, Khan took Shehbaz as a threat to his power and was keen to see him in jail.
The FIA investigation under Rizwan detected 28 benami accounts, allegedly of the Shehbaz family, through which an amount to the tune of PKR 14 billion was laundered from 2008 to 2018.
The FIA examined the money trail of 17,000 credit transactions and the amount was kept in hidden accounts and given to Shehbaz in his personal capacity.
The FIA said: This amount (Rs 14 bn) has nothing to do with the sugar business (of Shehbaz family).
The money received through the accounts of low-wage employees by Shehbaz was transferred outside Pakistan via hundi/hawala networks, ultimately destined for beneficial use of his family members.
"In 1998 Sadiqa Syed, a Bahraini national, had helped Shehbaz Sharif (then chief minister of Punjab) in laundering $5 million with the help of Ishaq Dar (then federal finance minister)."
The FIA nominated Shehbaz and his sons Hamza and Suleman as the principal accused in the case.
Fourteen others have been named in the FIR under various sections related to the Prevention of Corruption Act and the Anti-Money Laundering Act.
Last week the special court had dismissed a petition of the FIA to cancel the pre-arrest bail of Shehbaz Sharif in the money laundering case.
Shehbaz has termed the case "politically motivated" based on Imran Khan's vengeance.