FIA launches probe into Elahi audio leaks

Sources say audio clips will be sent to Punjab Forensic Science Agency for analysis

The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has launched a probe into the latest alleged ‘audio leaks’ of former Punjab chief minister Pervaiz Elahi and his lawyer after officially receiving a nod from the Interior Ministry, sources told Express-News on Friday.

The development came a day after Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah directed the FIA to conduct a forensic analysis of the ‘leaked’ audio recordings-which surfaced on social media on Thursday-in which Elahi could be purportedly heard saying he wanted cases to be fixed before a sitting judge of the apex court. Elahi, however, has responded by saying that the “wrong impression” was being given to his conversation with a lawyer about a corruption case involving his former principal secretary Muhammad Khan Bhatti.

FIA sources said the leaked audio clips will be sent to the Punjab Forensic Science Agency for analysis and its report will be submitted to the Interior Ministry. Sources in the investigative agency said a case will be registered against the former chief minister if a forensic report confirms the authenticity of the leaked recordings. During the news conference on Thursday, Interior Minister Sanaulllah played the ‘censored’ version of the leaked audio clips in which Elahi could allegedly be heard discussing the Supreme Court cases, including one involving former Lahore police chief Ghulam Mehmood Dogar.

Sanaullah claimed he had censored the clips as he did not want to reveal the identity of the apex court judge before a forensic analysis was conducted. The minister said he had directed the FIA to conduct a forensic analysis of the recordings and then arrest Elahi for interrogation after registering a case against him. He added that the FIA had also been directed to consult with the law ministry on the matter. Two separate audio clips were shared on social media earlier this week. In the first audio clip, a man believed to be Elahi can be heard telling “Joja sahab” that the judge should be appointed to hear the “Muhammad Khan case”.

Joja responds by saying he would go to Islamabad the same day. “He was saying today that they will send [the matter] to Islamabad. We will attempt [our efforts] in the process, which starts after that,” the man identifying himself as Joja can be heard saying. Elahi allegedly tells Joja to “have it done”. The former Punjab chief minister purportedly adds that the judge was “very audacious” to which Joja agrees. In the second audio clip, Elahi allegedly tells another man that a specific case had to be fixed for hearing before the apex court judge.

The other man is then heard asking whether or not the case had been filed. To this, Elahi purportedly responds that it had been filed and says he should ask Joja for details. The other man allegedly tells Elahi he will ask Joja, adding that he had spoken about the case “yesterday” as well and things were not ready until then. “I will check,” he adds. Elahi purportedly tells him to ensure the task was properly carried out. The other man replies that he will do it. The ex-Punjab chief minister allegedly says: “no one has to be told”. To this, the other man replies that he understands.