A trial court judge on Friday gave the Anti Narcotics Force (ANF) an additional two weeks to submit charge-sheets against the accused in the ephedrine scam.
Special Judge Control of Narcotics Substances (CNS) Arshad Mehmood Tabassum expressed concern over the delay in the submission of the charge-sheets when the hearing of the ephedrine case was resumed.
ANF Deputy Director Abid Zulfiqar requested the court to give him 10 days for submitting a charge-sheet against the accused in ephedrine case, however the court asked him the reasons for not submitting it so far.
Zulfiqar claimed that the investigation into the scam was ongoing and the ANF needed more time to complete the inquiry. The court accepted his request and adjourned the case.
Some of the political heavyweights accused in this case include MNA Ali Musa Gilani, former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani’s son, Federal Minister for Textile Industries Makhdoom Shahabuddin, as well as former health secretary Khushnood Lashari, their families and other officials of the health department.
In June 2012, an ANF magistrate had issued arrest warrants for Shahabuddin when he was in the process of submitting nomination papers for the prime minister’s slot after Gilani’s disqualification. All the accused managed to get bail from the courts, however.
On January 30, the same court had issued notices to the accused including Gilani’s wife, in response to an application filed by ANF seeking permanent freezing of assets and bank accounts. The bench had asked them to submit replies till February 12.
According to the ANF, Danas Pharmaceutical Company Islamabad and Berlex Pharmaceutical Multan obtained 9,500 kg quota of controlled chemical ephedrine from the Ministry of Health for export to Iraq and Afghanistan in 2010.
Later, the pharmaceutical companies allegedly got the export quota converted for local consumption and smuggled the chemical to Iran with the help of smugglers in Quetta and Karachi and made Rs7 billion.
Last February, the Supreme Court pointed out the involvement of high-profile politicians in the illegal allocation of 9,500kg ephedrine to two pharmaceutical companies and its conversion for sale in the local market.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 9th, 2013.