KARACHI: The Sindh High Court has granted protective bail to parliamentarian Hanif Abbasi in the ephedrine quota case until September 7.
The case involves the illegal allocation of ephedrine quotas worth Rs7 billion to two pharmaceutical companies – Berlex Lab International and Danas Pharmaceutical.
Two other suspects in the case, Ali Musa Gilani, son of former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, and former health minister Makhdoom Shahabuddin, were also granted interim bails until Aug 27 by the Lahore High Court’s Rawalpindi bench on Monday.
The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader had sought an eight-week-long protective bail through his counsel, Shaukat Hayat, on the ground that he was a resident of Karachi and needed time to travel to the trial court in Rawalpindi. He also requested the court to grant him time to engage a lawyer and to appear before the anti-narcotics court.
Abbasi was booked in a case (41/2012) registered under sections 9(c), 15 and 16 of the Control of Narcotics Substances Act, 1997. The FIR was lodged on the complaint of Lt Colonel Syed Tauqeer Abbasi Zaidi posted at the Anti-Narcotics Force’s Rawalpindi directorate police station. The applicant submitted that he was avoiding arrest as the case against him was registered with mala fide intent. The entire plot was to discredit him in the eyes of the business community as well as the general public, he stated.
The Anti-Narcotics Force, the prosecuting agency, maintains that the quota to import ephedrine in huge quantities was awarded to 99 different pharmaceutical firms, out of which 28 firms misused their share. No medicines were manufactured by these companies except some samples and a fake sales record was prepared to cover up the scam. Ephedrine was then sold to drug smugglers.
On Monday, Justice Maqbool Baqar today heard the bail plea in his chamber. The applicant was granted interim pre-arrest bail against a solvent surety of Rs500,000 and asked to surrender before the trial court.
Later, MNA Abbasi while talking to the press said that like the previous cases, he will be also be acquitted in this case too. “The Anti-Narcotics Force has already said that the 500-kg ephedrine quota was within the prescribed limit and we will prove our innocence before the courts,” he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 14th, 2012.