RAWALPINDI: Special Narcotics Court (SNC) Rawalpindi Judge Zafar Iqbal Chaudhry Friday declared former Director Danas Pharmaceutical Company Rizwan Khan an approver in the Ephedrine quota scandal.
The former director of Danas Pharmaceutical Company recorded his four-page statement before the court on Friday. In his statement, he claimed that quotas of 2,500kg and 6,500kg had been allotted to Danas Pharmaceutical Company and Berlex Ltd respectively through Anjum Shah — the front man of former Health Minister Makhdoom Shahabuddin -– and was paid Rs6 million for this purpose.
Rizwan Khan recorded his statement before the court in the presence of Anti Narcotics Force (ANF) Joint Director (Law) Colonel (Retd) Bashir, Special Public Prosecutor (SPP) Waseem Ahmed Qureshi and several other key officials of the concerned law enforcement agency. The accused, who has been declared an approver in the Ephedrine quota case, revealed in his statement that “the PPP-led government appointedZafar Abbas Lak as Federal Secretary Ministry of Narcotics Control to spoil the case of allocation of illegal quota of the chemical Ephedrine and later its smuggling to Iran, as well as to save the skin of the near and dear ones of PPP stalwarts.”
Others accused in the Ephedrine case include Syed Ali Musa Gilani (an MNA from Multan and son of former Prime Minister Syed Yusaf Raza Gilani), former Federal Minister for Health Makhdoom Shihabuddin, and former Secretary Health Khushnud Akhter Lashari.
In his statement, Rizwan Khan claimed that on February 14, 2012, Zafar Abbas Lakh — in his capacity as Secretary Narcotics Control — had declared the allocation of Ephedrine for export purposes and later its conversion for local consumption as matter falling under the Drug Act, and had sought the opinion of the law secretary on the issue. The approver added that the conversion of 9,000kg Ephedrine — a controlled chemical — into local consumption was made possible through the then Health Minister Makhdoom Shihabuddin, Syed Ali Musa Gilani and his front man Tauqeer Khan.
Rizwan, whose stunning revelations have created unrest in the PPP camps, disclosed that the chemical obtained from Islamabad in 2010 was smuggled by Iftikhar Khan in collaboration with two international smugglers Kaka Khan and Aziz Mehmood Hussaini to Iran via Taftan from Quetta. He added that the total of cost of the smuggled Ephedrine in the international market stood at Rs7 billion, and that Ansar Farooq and Tahir-ul-Wadood Lahoti — co-owners of Danas Pharmaceutical — opened a joint account in Bank Al-Falah I-8 Islamabad Branch to receive the money earned through the aforementioned smuggling.
Rizwan Khan proceeded to claim that Ibrahim Muhamamd Ikhlas — along with Haji Siddiq and Haji Dilawar — was also involved in smuggling Ephedrine under the garb of rice export, and had offices at Dalbadin, Quetta and Karachi. “These men have been smuggling Ephedrine on a large scale using different names [for] the controlled chemical such as Thoroa, Tarkha and Hassar,” said the approver in his statement.
The approver also said that a total of Rs6 million was doled out among different health officials as well as former health ministry DGs including Dr Raheed Juma and Asad Hafeez, who had issued the allocation and conversion of Ephedrine quotas.
While blasting Syed Ali Musa Gilani, Rizwan Khan claimed that certain individuals had also obtained favours from different ministers through the former premier’s son and his front man Tauqeer Khan, such as concessions in the field of medicine, obtaining permits for vehicles with tinted glass from the Interior Ministry, and arms licenses.
In the affidavit, Rizwan Khan also claimed that in 2011 Tahir Lahoti had once again tried to obtain 1,000 kg Ephedrine, but the then DG Health Asad Hafeez had refused to provide the chemical. However Syed Ali Musa Gilani quickly jumped into the arena and exhorted pressure on the DG to allocate the requested quota to Tahir Lahoti. Succumbing to the pressure, the DG moved the application to the then Secretary Health Nargis Sethi who promptly threw the application into the dustbin, terming the work illegal. Rizwan Khan added that DG Hafeez also faced strong opposition from his subordinates in this regard.