SC forms JIT to probe into DTH devices smuggling

Published: December 19, 2018
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Supreme Court of Pakistan. PHOTO: AFP

Supreme Court of Pakistan. PHOTO: AFP

LAHORE: The top court has constituted a joint investigation team (JIT) headed by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) director general to thoroughly probe into a case related to smuggling of Direct to Home (DTH) devices into the country from India via Sri Lank and Dubai.

“Let a JIT comprising representatives of the FlA, Pemra [Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority], PTA [Pakistan Telecommunication Authority] and the Customs Department headed by the DG FIA be constituted to thoroughly probe into the matter.

“Let the needful be done within a period of three week,” said the order issued by a three-judge Supreme Court bench headed by the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar.

The order said the FIA DG told the bench that on account of the effort of a joint team, encouraging results have been achieved and the DTH equipment worth Rs97.8 million have been recovered and confiscated besides many other instruments.

The court noted that according to the FIA, smuggling of the DTH devices possibly constitutes money laundering and resultantly some cases have also been registered in this regard.

“It is further stated that the joint team constituted to curb the menace shall prepare a plan to ensure that the equipment in question is not available for sale in Pakistan and the very source through which they are brought into the country from India via Sri Lank and Dubai is permanently cut off,” it said.

Hearing of the case was later adjourned till January 2.

Earlier, the SC formed a committee, which revealed that the customs authorities had seized illegal DTH devices worth Rs97.8 million from various markets. The committee comprising officials of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), the FIA and Pemra submitted its final report which said the illegal DTH devices have almost disappeared from the local market due to joint enforcement operations.

The report revealed that 48 FIRs were registered and 59 people were arrested while 11,247 DTH equipment were seized. In Punjab, 44 cases were registered and 53 people were arrested.

Pemra has blocked 24 websites which were involved in selling the smuggled equipment. The IP addresses of these websites have been traced and screenshots of the advertisements saved.

The report said people involved in the illegal business have started using WhatsApp groups for advertising and facilitating the illegal sale of DTH equipment and C-line services besides financial transactions. Lists of such numbers have been shared with the FIA along with their users’ details.

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