Rawalpindi: Ephedrine case registered against PML-N’s Hanif Abbasi
RAWALPINDI: The Anti–Narcotics Force (ANF) registered on Monday a case against a Pakistan Muslim League-N legislator for his alleged involvement in misuse of controlled chemical ephedrine. According to ANF sources, the case was registered against MNA Hanif Abbasi and his partner Zafar Bakhtawari, owners of Gray Pharmaceutical, for misusing 500kg of ephedrine. The sources said that registration of a case against the PML–N legislator was not a targeted action because the ANF had registered at least four cases against pharmaceutical companies in a couple of days. Mr Abbasi told Dawn that the ANF was acting upon the instructions of his political rival Sheikh Rashid. He said that whatever Sheikh Rashid said, the ANF followed.
He said his company was allocated 500kg of ephedrine in 2010 out of which 170kg was used in medicines and the remaining was sold out and he had provided consumption certificates to the ANF.
“I have filed a petition in the Lahore High Court (LHC), but instead of responding my petition, the ANF started a campaign against me,” he said.
Mr Abbasi requested the court to stop the ANF authorities from harassing him and his employees.
The petition said there was no evidence against him or his company and the ANF officials might be asked to apprise the court if there had been any outcome of the investigation.
The PML–N legislator said the ANF authorities had been pressuring his employees to be approvers against him. “So far the ANF has investigated 42 people, including his employees, distributors and sellers, and examined the relevant record about obtaining the controlled chemical,” he said.
He said that about 93 companies received the ephedrine quota but only his company was being investigated.
Meanwhile, a division bench of the LHC in Rawalpindi directed Textile Minister Makhdoom Shahabuddin and Ali Musa Gilani, son of former prime minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani, to cooperate with the investigation team of the ANF in connection with the controlled chemical ephedrine scam.
The court warned both of them that their non-cooperation would result in the cancellation of their interim bail subsequently leading to their arrest by the ANF.
Upon assurances by counsel of Makhdoom Shahab and Musa Gilani for joining the investigation, the court extended their interim bail till Aug 6 and adjourned the hearing.
The LHC bench, comprising Justice Syed Najamul Hassan and Justice Shahzad Ahmed Khan, resumed hearing bail applications of Makhdoom Shahab, Musa Gilani and Abdul Sattar Suhrani, the deputy drug controller.
The court observed that applicants should approach the Control of Narcotics of Substance (CNS) court for bail and offered them protective bail, but the counsel for the accused expressed distrust on the trial court and said that they were not sure of getting justice from the CNS judge.
Abdul Rashid Sheikh, counsel of Makhdoom Shahab and Sattar Suhrani, told the court that earlier the LHC entertained such applications and passed appropriate orders.
Faisal Hussain Chaudhry, counsel of Musa Gilani, assured the court that they were cooperating with the ANF since last several months and would join the investigation as and when summoned by the investigation team.
Counsels of Dr Rashid Juma, former director general of health, and Rizwan Ahmed Khan, director of Danas Pharmaceutical, have withdrawn their bail applications.
ANF special prosecutor Waseem Ahmed Qureshi told the court that the Sindh High Court while granting protective bail to Musa Gilani directed him to appear before the trial court.
He informed the court that after being declared approvers, the ANF does not need the appearance of Dr Juma and Rizwan Khan.
Mohammad Asghar adds: Makhdoom Shahabuddin appeared before the Anti–Narcotic Force personnel for the third time since his arrest warrants and got his statement recorded.
The sources said Mr Shahabuddin came to the ANF regional headquarters at around 4:30pm and remained there for about half an hour. He was questioned by the Investigating Officer (IO) who asked him about allocation of ephedrine quota case and his alleged involvement.
The minister denied allegations that he had pressurised the health officials in this regard.
Earlier, the minister had appeared before the ANF investigators on June 28 and recorded his first statement in the ephedrine case. He appeared before the ANF investigator on July 3 for the second time and today’s was his third appearance.
“At the moment, the pharmaceutical company’s officials are being investigated, but so far none of the other politicians were called by the ANF in connection with the ephedrine case nor any case was registered,” the source said.
Mr Shahabuddin and Musa Gilani were directed by the LHC bench to cooperate with the ANF investigating team.