ISLAMABAD: An anti-narcotics court has ordered the Anti Narcotics Force (ANF) to submit a report regarding freezing of bank accounts of Ali Musa Gillani, son of former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gillani, and former minister Makhdoom Shahabuddin in multi-billion-rupee ephedrine scam.
Judge of the Special Court for the Control of Narcotics Substance (CNS), Iram Niazi, on Wednesday directed the ANF to submit the report by the next date of hearing – September 28. The direction came after the court was told that the ANF had written to different banks to freeze accounts of the suspects.
Previously, the court had indicted Musa, Shahabuddin and others in the case. The suspects had pleaded not guilty and decided to stand trial. Subsequently, the court had directed the prosecution to present witnesses and evidence in the case.
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The case regarding illegal sale of ephedrine – a controlled chemical also used in manufacturing party drugs –had rocked the Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) last government over five years ago.
The ANF accused that back in 2010, Musa had allegedly influenced the health ministry officials to allocate a quota of the chemical, reportedly worth Rs70 billion, to two different Multan-based pharmaceutical companies — Danas Pharmaceutical Limited and Berlex Lab International.
The force claimed that the obtained amount of the chemical exceeded the limits fixed by the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB).
The Gilani family has always pleaded innocence, claiming Musa had nothing to do with the ephedrine case, and that the family and the PPP was being politically victimised. The ANF’s investigation had, however, claimed to establish a direct link between Musa and the multi-billion rupees drug scandal.
Former director general health Dr Rasheed Jumma in his statement had accused both Musa and Shahabuddin of pressurising him to convert the export quota so that 9,000 kilogrammes ephedrine could be used for local consumption in 2010.
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Two pharmaceutical companies allocated the huge quantities of ephedrine in excess of their quotas. Both firms did not keep a record of consumption of the controlled chemical.
Another accused Rizwan Khan, former director of Danas, had claimed in his statement that ephedrine was smuggled to Iran through Balochistan which generated Rs7 billion for the people involved.
Initially, the accused persons were tried by the CNS court of Rawalpindi but in 2014 in the light of the Lahore High Court (LHC) verdict passed on a petition of chief executive of Berlix Pharmaceutical Iftikhar Babar, the judge declared that it did not fall under the territorial jurisdiction of Rawalpindi’s court.
The ANF then took up the matter to the Supreme Court and the apex court remanded the case to the CNS court of Islamabad. The court will now take up the case on September 28.
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