Wheat Scam: Two escape from court after bail pleas rejected in Hyderabad

Traders, Muharram Pechuho and Hussain Khokhar, among around dozen persons including food officials

Our Correspondent May 19, 2019

HYDERABAD: The Special Anti-Corruption Court rejected the bail plea of two traders implicated in Rs670 million wheat scam following which they escaped from the court with the help of their lawyers.

The traders, Muharram Pechuho and Hussain Khokhar, are among around a dozen persons including food officials of Dadu district who have been booked by Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE).

The accused allegedly connived in fraudulent release of more than 194,000 wheat bags weighing 100 kilogramme each from the government's eight warehouses. Pechuho and Khokhar had filed the bail plea through advocate Nisar Durrani.

Munawar Ali of ACE blamed a group of over a dozen lawyers for helping the accused escape. He said ACE will conduct raids to arrest the suspects. Two media workers also complained that the lawyers prevented them from covering the escape following the bail's rejection.

According to ACE, the food officials nominated in the case have obtained bail while two food inspectors are under arrest. Two similar wheat scams, involving billions of rupees, also recently emerged in Sanghar and Ghotki districts.

In the scams, the traders in collusion with the food officials either illegally secure large supplies of the wheat bags or they steal wheat from the government's warehouses. The Sindh government bought wheat last year at Rs1,300 per 40 kg from the  farmers.

However, as the government wheat procurement began belatedly, traders and agents bought wheat at around Rs1,000 to Rs1,100 per 40kg rate from the farmers and later sold the same to the government at Rs1,300 rate. The food department is under obligation to distribute the wheat bags to wheat farmers only.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 19th, 2019.


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