District and Sessions Judge Nazir Ahmed Ganjana has extended till February 9 the pre-arrest bails of Nadir Feroz and Shakeel Nagra, officials of Efroze Chemicals, who are accused of criminal negligence in connection with the deaths of around 150 Punjab Institute of Cardiology patients.
The judge granted the adjournment as the counsel for the accused sought more time to go through the report of a judicial tribunal of the Lahore High Court regarding the deaths caused by Isotab, a medicine manufactured by the Karachi-based Efroze Chemicals, in late 2011 and early 2012.
The court provided him a copy of the report.
The counsel for the accused also asked the court to wait for the conclusion of related proceedings in the Supreme Court, as well as a petition in the Sessions Court seeking a case against police officials for allegedly kidnapping the accused.
The prosecution counsel contended that the accused were delaying the case on one pretext after another. He said that the other cases had no connection with the pre-arrest bails. The counsel for the accused should complete his arguments on the bail pleas rather than seeking delays, he said.
At the previous proceedings, the court had recorded the statements of accused Feroz, who is son of Efroze Chemicals owner Muhammad Abdullah Feroz and its deputy managing director, as well as Nagra, the company’s plant general manager.
They told the court that they had been abducted by policemen as they left the Sessions Court on January 24 after obtaining bail. They were illegally detained until their bails were cancelled owing to them not appearing in court, at which point they were produced before a magistrate and remanded, they said.
An inquiry into the PIC deaths led by DIG Zulfiqar Cheema had recommended that cases be registered against 10 officials of Efroze Chemicals Muhammad Abdullah Feroz (the owner), Nadir Feroz, Khurram Munaf (technical director), Shakeel Nagra (plant general manager), Muhammad Imtiaz (quality control manager), Tabish Naumani (production executive), Syed Waqas Hussain (supply chain executive), Syed Iftikhar Ahmad (store officer), Syed Razi Haider Kazmi (helper) and Muhammad Shoaib Ansari (helper) under Sections 322 (negligence causing death) and 302 (murder) of the Pakistan Penal Code and Sections 23/27 of the Drug Act 1976.
The inquiry committee also recommended cases against distributors Muhammad Musharraf and Tariq Rehman, the owners of Umer Trading Company, under Sections 322 of the PPC and 23/27 of the Drug Act; and against five officials and doctors at the PIC, for allegedly tampering with the stock record, under sections of the penal code for forgery and cheating. These are Muhammad Yousaf (pharmacist/store in-charge), Zulfiqar Ali (storekeeper), Dr Abdul Hameed (Store AMS), Dr Ali Hasan (Store DMS) and Dr Ameer Ali (Admin DMS).
Published in The Express Tribune, February 7th, 2013.