Déjà vu: In ephedrine case, Abbasi’s indictment deferred again

Delay comes because judge is on leave; earlier delay was due to a lawyers’ strike


Our Correspondent August 05, 2014

RAWALPINDI: A Control of Narcotics Substances (CNS) court on Monday deferred the indictment of Hanif Abbasi, his brother and five others in the ephedrine quota case till August 25. This is the second time in 20 days that the case has been deferred.

On July 15, the previous indictment date, court proceeding could not be held due to lawyer’s strike over the fighting in Israel.

Later that day, the court summoned Abbasi, his brother and five employees of Grey Pharmaceutical On August 4.

On Monday, proceedings could not take place as the judge was on leave till August 22. The duty judge deferred the case till August 25. Earlier, the Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) submitted a challan in the court and declared Abbasi, his brother and five employees as accused.

Abbasi is accused of misappropriating 500kg of the controlled chemical ephedrine, obtained in 2010, and allegedly selling it to narcotics smugglers.

The challan also includes the statements of two officials of Arafaat Traders, a Karachi-based medicine distribution company to whom Abbasi claimed to have supplied 11,000 tablets of medicines containing the ephedrine in question.

The ANF had registered the case against the co-accused in June 2012, however, in November 2012, Abbasi obtained bail from the LHC Rawalpindi bench.

In February 2012, the Supreme Court pointed out political involvement in the alleged illegal allocation of 9,000 kilogrammes of ephedrine to two pharmaceutical companies — Berlix and Danas — and its conversion for sale in the local market.

The names of former federal minister Makhdoom Shahabuddin and Ali Musa Gillani, the son of former premier Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani, also continue to pop up in the case. Shahabuddin had already filed an application with the CNS court requesting his acquittal. That case is still pending before the court.

Ephedrine is used in many legal drugs such as those for cough, cold and flu, but can also be misused as a stimulant or as a precursor while making other illegal drugs.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 5th,2014.

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