Ephedrine case: ANF seeks permanent freezing of assets
RAWALPINDI, Jan 29: Control of Narcotics Substances (CNS) court, on Tuesday, issued notices to three parliamentarians, their family members, including former first lady, on an application of Anti Narcotics Force (ANF) seeking permanent freezing of assets and bank accounts, in connection with the ephedrine case.
According to the law, ANF can only temporarily freeze assets of an accused in a case, which it did last year, in the ephedrine case, but to permanently freeze, it needs a directive from the CNS court.
Therefore, the ANF filed an application in the CNS court and then wrote letters to the revenue offices and banks, last year, to temporarily freeze assets of the accused in the ephedrine case.
However, the ANF application was not taken up by the CNS court because of non-availability of judge.
Although after the appointment of Justice Arshad Mehmood Tabassum as judge CNS court of Rawalpindi, during January 2013, the application has been taken up.
CNS judge directed all the 14 accused in the ephedrine case and their family members to submit a reply and adjourned the hearing till February 12, 2012.
Freezing of assets
ANF in June, 2012, temporarily froze the assets of MNA Ali Musa Gilani, his brother MNA Abdul Qadir Gilani and mother Fauzia Yousaf Raza Gilani former first lady and federal minister Makhdoom Shahabuddin, his son Makhdoom Tahir Rasheed and two daughters Areesha Bibi and Tazain Bibi and Khushnood Akhtar Lashari former principal secretary to the prime minister, along with other persons, allegedly involved in the ephedrine scam.
The court also put on notice director health Sheikh Ansar Ahmed, his two sons and two daughters and deputy drug controller Abdul Sattar Sorani.
In October, 2012, Makhdoom Shahab had filed an application in the Lahore High Court (LHC) Rawalpindi bench for the release of his frozen property and bank accounts.
According to the petition of Makhdoom Shahab, ANF assistant director (assets investigation) Naeemuddin on June 22, 2012, asked the revenue officials of Rahimyar Khan to provide details of property owned by Makhdoom Shahab, his relatives and friends.
The petition said that after ANF directions, Makhdoom Shahab or any of his family members could not sell their inherited land or transfer it to any other name. The petition of Makhdoom Shahab is still pending in the LHC for adjudication.
On the other hand, Akhtar Abbas, ANF director legal, told Dawn that the ANF froze the assets of the accused persons and their family members in accordance with the CNS Act.
ANF director said that under section 37 of CNS Act, ANF can freeze the assets of an accused person but the continuity of assets remaining frozen depend on the orders of the CNS court.
Under the said section, ANF after freezing the assets, forwards the matter to the CNS court within three days of freezing, he said, adding that it is up to the court to confirm the freezing or de-freezing of assets.
Once it is proven that the assets have not been made through ill-gotten money, the court would pass an order to de-freeze the assets, he added.
On the other hand, Abdul Rashid Sheikh, counsel of Makhdoom Shahab said that the ANF could not freeze property without the court’s permission.
According to the counsel, ANF last year had wrongly frozen the assets of the accused persons and their family members, and as a result Makhdoom Shahab and his family members were facing financial problems.