Karachi: 3 accused in relics smuggling case remanded till 15th
KARACHI: Judicial Magistrate (East) Haleem Ahmed on Wednesday remanded three accused in a relics smuggling case in the Awami Colony police custody till July 15 so the investigations could be completed. Two of the accused, Zafar and Asif Majeed, had already been in police custody. The third suspect produced in court on Wednesday was Tahir. According to police, Tahir, an employee of the owners of the truck that was intercepted and found carrying hundreds of Gandhara civilisation artefacts last week, also had a hand in the international smuggling bid. The investigation officer will present his report and a charge sheet against the three accused at the next hearing.
The owners of the truck (a trailer-mounted container), Atif Butt and Asif Butt, had obtained pre–arrest bail on Tuesday from Judicial Magistrate Hafeeza Usman on the grounds that the police could arrest and torture them.
The applicants claimed that they were innocent and law-abiding citizens and there was no legal fault on their part and it was unfair to victimise them. The court, considering their pleas, granted them bail before arrest and told them to fight their case before the trial court when it initiated the proceedings.
Zafar and Asif Majeed, the driver and the cleaner of the truck, were arrested after the 2,000-year-old relics were seized by police on July 6. Later, another suspect, Tahir, was arrested. According to the findings, Zafar and Asif Majeed were transporting a large number of the artefacts, including statues and utensils, to Sialkot.
The police said they intercepted a truck in the Awami Colony police limits and recovered statues of Gautama Buddha, coins, utensils and other artefacts from the vehicle. They added that the suspects had kept the relics in a warehouse in Ibrahim Haidery before trying to transport them to Sialkot.
Policemen and an inspection team from the archeology department have unpacked over 300 pieces of artefacts, which are lying at the police station.