JIT to probe reports of bank accounts allegedly held by Zainab rape-murder suspect

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LAHORE: Chief Minister Punjab Shehbaz Sharif has taken notice of reports of multiple bank accounts of the accused in Zainab rape and murder case, and directed the joint investigation team (JIT) to probe into the matter.
Following the arrest of suspect Imran Ali in the horrific murder and rape case of seven-year-old Zainab, reports have emerged that the accused held several bank accounts, which included foreign currency accounts as well.
The Punjab government, on the chief minister’s directives, has notified addition of a representative of the State Bank of Pakistan and DG Forensic Science Laboratory to the already existing JIT in the case, headed by a deputy inspector general (DIG).
Police officials confirmed the addition of the two members to the team.
The JIT has been directed to probe reports by a private media house suggesting that the accused, Imran Ali Naqshbandi, has several bank accounts.
The investigation team has been ordered to investigate the matter and report on its findings.
On Wednesday, a special anti-terrorism court (ATC) handed Imran to police on a 14-day physical remand. During proceedings, the accused admitted to the rape and murder of Zainab.
Responding to the honourable Judge Sajjad Ali’s question about the accused man’s missing beard, the prosecutor said that the man had shaved it off after murdering Zainab.
Zainab was kidnapped from near her aunt’s house in Kasur on January 4. Her body was discovered in a garbage heap five days later. On Tuesday, Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif in a news conference confirmed that Imran had murdered seven-year-old Zainab, referring to him as a “serial killer”.
“He [Imran] admitted to all his crimes in a polygraph test that was conducted after his DNA matched the samples,” Sharif said during the news conference.
Bank officials deny existence of suspect’s accounts
Bank officials, when approached by media following reports of the accused’s bank accounts, denied their existence.
They said that the suspect does not have an account in any of their bank branches.
Imran demands investigation into alleged child pornography ring
Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairperson Imran Khan has demanded a thorough probe by a high-powered joint investigation team (JIT) into reports of a child pornography ring allegedly operating in Kasur.
“After the arrest of Imran Ali in the Zainab case, a tale of a well-connected operation of child pornography, abuse & murder is unravelling as he is found to have numerous bank accts,” the PTI chairperson said in a tweet on Thursday.
“Clearly the scale of these crimes against (SIC) our innocent children shows involvement of powerful people,” he said, stressing that a ‘strong JIT’ should thoroughly investigate the reports.
“A strong JIT must investigate this thoroughly including the Kasur child pornography case which Rana Sanaullah shamefully dismissed as a land dispute.”
Rana rubbishes Imran’s claims
While responding to the PTI chief’s statement on child pornography ring in Kasur, Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah said Imran’s words came from hearsay. This is what the PTI chairperson does, Sanaullah added.
Confirming addition of a State Bank official to the JIT, he said that Imran’s claims are baseless and politically motivated, aimed at undermining the success of the Punjab government in resolving Zainab rape and murder case.
“They understand that they have lost the chance to do politics on these innocent girls,” the provincial minister said.
“If Imran had time, he would have read the JIT report on Kasur video scandal,” he said, when asked about the PTI chairman’s allegations against him.
Rana said the JIT, which had [representatives from] civil and military institutions, had written whether or not there was a [land] dispute there or not; how many suspects were challaned in the case later on and that the case is being heard by an anti-terrorism court. “The thing is that they never come to the facts.”
Asked that some opposition leaders have been naming some federal ministers, influential figures and does he have any information about that, the minister said the Zainab rape-murder suspect is the only one involved in the cases he stands accused of and that all the details pertaining to those cases have been verified in different ways.
“The suspect revealed that two members of his own family identified him in the CCTV footage and told him that he appeared to be the man in the footage,” he said, criticising Imran Khan and Aitzaz Ahsan.
“Aitzaz Ahsan is a wise man, but he has always sold his wisdom,” Rana said, adding that their efforts to snatch the credit are indirectly supporting this “beast”, who subjected eight innocent girls to his brutality. “They are tangling his case and hence supporting him.”
He said that Imran and Aitzaz will be exposed before the nation after a verified report is presented.
Ahsan had earlier said that it was impossible to trust the Punjab police, adding that the suspect arrested in Zainab rape-murder case could not do all this alone.
Accused used sweets to lure victims
Investigators have revealed that Imran, was 24 and unmarried. He was a resident of the same neighbourhood as Zainab.
Officials in the JIT disclosed that Imran revealed during interrogation that he kidnapped Zainab at 6:45 pm.
“When he couldn’t find an appropriate place [to rape her], he roamed around with her for over 1.5 kilometres and took her to a pile of garbage as he feared being caught if he went to a residential area,” the JIT official revealed, quoting Imran.
Imran reportedly said further that he used to kidnap girls from the houses where he was employed. He allegedly confessed to raping eight girls in under-construction houses and two on garbage piles.
Sources said Imran would take the girls out on the pretext of buying candy and hair clips, adding that he took Kainat Batool out on the pretext of buying yoghurt and later raped her. She survived and is presently under treatment at a hospital in Lahore.
Imran spent hours around Zainab’s house. His DNA matches those of eight girls whereas the samples of two girls raped earlier were wasted leading to an inconclusive DNA result.
The jacket that led to the suspect
A jacket owned by Imran was among the evidence that helped the police to narrow down on the suspect, revealed a media report.
The CCTV video which went viral showed the suspect wearing a zip-up jacket having two giant buttons at either side of the jacket top. However, the CCTV footage did not clearly show the jacket’s colour.
The police nonetheless carried out a raid at the suspect’s house where a black jacket with a similar design was found. Imran was eventually arrested as the prime accused after his DNA matched with the sample collected from the site where Zainab’s body was dumped.
According to the report, the suspect’s mother aided the police in tracking him down after his DNA samples matched.
After the police arrested Imran, the suspect reportedly confessed to assaulting eight minor girls at an under-construction site and two others in a garbage heap. He also admitted to murdering five minor girls at an under-construction site and throwing away the bodies of three others in a garbage pile, sources said.

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