Former Health Director General (DG) Rasheed Jooma and two others obtained pre-arrest bail from the court of Control of Narcotics Substance (CNS) till January 20 in a case centering on the sale of banned drugs in the local market.
Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) Rawalpindi has been investigating the case, registered on October 10 last year, about the illegal sale of ephedrine to local manufacturers by two pharmaceutical companies after they were accused of colluding with the health ministry officials to obtain export quotas for the drug.
On January 19, former DG Tahirul Wadood and Rizwan Ahmed Khan, both employees of Danas Pharmaceutical Limited, will appear before Special Judge CNS Court as the court has to decided whether or not the accused should be granted bail.
According to the FIR, the narcotics control ministry secretary directed ANF Rawalpindi to register a criminal case after the federal health minister assured the National Assembly on February 3 last year that action would be taken against the pharmaceutical companies.
Documents available with The Express Tribune show that Berlex Lab International got an allocation from the ministry of health on March 25 to import 600 kilograms of ephedrine, and another allocation for the import of 500 more kilograms on October 22. The other company, Danas Pharmaceuticals, obtained a quota for 1,500 kg on April 15, and another for 1,000 kg on June 9.
According to the investigation agency, the companies, in collusion with the health officials, illegally obtained quotas for export of the drug and later distributed it in the local market.
On the other hand, the accused companies have moved the Lahore High Court Rawalpindi bench asking for quashing of the FIR.
The petitioners have claimed that the case could not be registered against them as they had not done anything wrong.
The petitioners maintained before the high court that ephedrine is not a banned item and does not fall under the control of narcotics substance laws, thus making it beyond the jurisdiction of ANF for any investigation, while adding that the FIR must be quashed and declared illegal and unlawful.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 17th, 2012.