A former health official in the ephedrine chemical quota allocation case has mysteriously disappeared a day before recording his statement in court, putting the Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) and investigators on alert.
Dr Rasheed Jumma, former director general (DG) of health, was slated to record his statement as the ‘approver’ before the Narcotics Control Special Judge Zafar Iqbal Chaudhry on Friday. However, sources in the ANF told The Express Tribune that teams have failed to track him down despite raids in Rawalpindi, Lahore and Karachi.
A source close to Dr Jumma confirmed his disappearance and said that he was unwilling to speak against Ali Musa Gilani – son of ousted prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani – and former health minister Makhdoom Shahabuddin as he was being made an approver under “duress”. The ANF teams are conducting raids throughout the country to trace the official whose disappearance has become a mystery despite being kept under constant watch by the ANF teams. With Dr Jumma’s disappearance, the ANF is trying to make another health official as the approver. The investigators have made an offer to former health DG Dr Asad Hafeez, who is under treatment at the Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology (AFIC), to become the approver. Hafeez was admitted to the AFIC after a heart attack and injuries during interrogation.
A source close to Dr Hafeez told The Express Tribune that an ANF team has met him and conveyed the force commander’s message to become the approver. The official during interrogation had refused to implicate the former health minister and Musa Gilani in the case.
Meanwhile, another accused in the case who was absconding has also become an approver and recorded his statement before a judge.
Rizwan Ahmed Khan, a director of the Danas Pharmaceutical company, on Friday recorded his statement before a special judge of the Narcotics Control and became an approver. His name has now been removed from the list of the accused. The approver in his statement said that narcotics control former secretary Zafar Abbas Luk on February 14, 2012 had declared the allocation of quota of ephedrine for export purpose and later its conversion for local consumption.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 14th, 2012.