The Lahore High Court Rawalpindi bench on Monday dismissed the pre-arrest bail pleas of two PPP MNAs in the case of alleged illegal allocation of ephedrine quotas, saying that both accused appear to have misused their positions.
Justices Khawaja Imtiaz Ahmed and Ibadur Rehman Lodhi decided that the extraordinary relief of pre-arrest bail could not be extended to former federal Health Minister Makhdoom Shahabuddin and MNA Ali Musa Gilani at this stage of the case.
In their verdict, the adjudicators observed that the Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) needed custody of the two accused MNAs for further interrogations as a key witness, former Health Department director general (DG) Dr Rasheed Jumma, had accused the two of pressurising him to allocate 9,000 kg of ephedrine to two pharmaceutical companies.
Shahbuddin, now the federal minister for textile industries, has maintained in his bail plea that he was actually the complainant in the case as he had ordered the inquiry into the quotas during his tenure as health minister.
Under the rules, only DG health was authorised to allocate the ephedrine quotas and Shahabuddin claimed he had never granted any quota to any company.
Ali Musa Gilani, the son of former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, argued in his bail plea that he was roped in the case only to be maligned by the ANF, as the investigators had no evidence against him.
On the other hand, the ANF maintained that accused-turned-state witness Dr Rasheed Jumma had accused the two MNAs of pressurising him to allocate the quota and admitted to succumbing to their pressure to keep his job.
The investigators further stated that another approver, former Danas Pharmaceutical director Rizwan Khan, said the ephedrine was smuggled to Iran and sold for Rs7 billion, adding that the chemical was not used to manufacture any medicines.
Meanwhile, the ANF filed a petition with the LHC asking for the names of all the accused in the ephedrine case to be placed on the exit control list.
Apart from Gilani and Shahbuddin, the accused include former health secretary Khushnud Akhtar Lashari, former Health DG Dr Asad Hafeez, former drug controller Sheikh Ansaar and the owners of Danas and Berlex Pharmaceutical companies.
In the meantime, the trial court ordered the release of two other accused after the ANF said no evidence could be found against the two men, Tanveer Sherazi and Abdul Waheed.
These men were the distributors of medicines in Multan and were accused of preparing fake distribution documents showing the obtained ephedrine was properly consumed.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 4th, 2012.