Lahore, November 16
Pakistan’s top investigative body has registered an FIR against top Opposition leader Shahbaz Sharif, Prime Minister Imran Khan’s friend and three others in a multi-billion sugar scam.
The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) registered the case on Sunday against Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) President Shahbaz Sharif, his sons- Hamza and Suleman-, Prime Minister Khan’s friend Jahangir Tareen and his son Ali Tareen under money laundering, forgery, criminal breach of trust and cheating of public shareholders.
Tareen and his son are accused of defrauding and laundering Rs 4.35 billion in the case, while Shahbaz and his sons are facing similar charges amounting Rs 25 billion.
The complaint comes days after the Lahore High Court struck down a case filed by the Security and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) with the FIA against Tareen’s JDW Sugar Mills and Farooqi Pulp Mills and Shahbaz’s Al-Arabia Sugar Mills on the basis of “procedural unfairness and for being a dictated exercise”.
The FIA said the court in fact has empowered it to go against those involved in the sugar scam without any discrimination.
Shahbaz and his son Hamza are in Kot Lakhpat jail in Lahore on judicial remand in another case of money laundering instituted by the country’s anti-graft body, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), while his younger son Suleman is in London and has already been declared an absconder by a local court in the NAB’s money laundering case.
Tareen and his son have recently returned from London. Ali is the owner of Pakistan Super League (PSL) franchise ‘Multan Sultan’.
The FIA has not made any arrest in this case so far.
The forensic audit report of the sugar inquiry commission, which was made public in May last had exposed over rupees 150 billion fraud in production, sale and export of the commodity every year by sugar barons including Tareen and a brother of sitting federal minister Khusro Bakhtiar.
The report revealed how “sugar cartel” in the country, comprising 88 mills, in collaboration with some government departments, including Sugar Advisory Board, and others committed fraud in procurement of cane, manufacturing of sugar, sale in the local market, export subsidy and billions of rupees in tax evasion.
The government has directed relevant authorities to launch a massive crackdown against sugar barons. PTI