The Rawalpindi bench of the Lahore High Court hearing the ephedrine quota scandal case extended the pre-arrest bails of Pakistan Peoples Party MNA Ali Musa Gilani and former health minister Makhdoom Shahabuddin until August 6 on Monday.
A division bench of Justice Sheikh Najam ul Hassan and Justice Malik Shahzad Ahmed Khan extended the bails of the accused after their lawyers did not appear in court on Monday.
In a statement, the former director general health, Dr Rasheed Jumma, has accused former health minister Makhdoom Shahabuddin, former federal secretary health Khushnood Akhtar Lashari and Ali Musa Gilani of pressuring him into converting the export quota of ephedrine for local consumption.
When Ali Musa and Shahabuddin asked for a deferment, an Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) prosecutor said they had not been cooperating with investigators. Justice Sheikh threatened to dismiss their pre-arrest interim bail if they were not cooperative, and directed the accused to appear before investigators at 4pm on Monday.
Meanwhile, Jumma, an accused in the ephedrine quota scandal, and another accused, Rizwan Khan, former director of Danas Pharmaceutical, withdrew their pre-arrest bail applications after the ANF explained that the two defendants have decided to become approvers in the case.
When Jumma’s counsel, advocate Muhammad Ilyas Siddiqi, asked for withdrawal of the bail plea, Special Public Prosecutor ANF, Wasim Ahmed informed the court that the former health official was not wanted any longer after he agreed to depose against other accused in the case.
Rizwan Khan, in his statement as approver, revealed that the ephedrine was not used for manufacturing medicine, and the chemical, worth Rs7 billion, was smuggled to Iran.
The bail plea of former deputy drug controller Abdul Sattar Surani could be taken up as well, as he was in Adiala jail after he was denied bail by the trial court.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 31st, 2012.