As much as 9,000 kilogramme of ephedrine, which was acquired on an illegal quota, was allegedly smuggled to Iran via Quetta in 2010, an approver in the much-publicised scam has told investigators.
“The allocated quota of the controlled chemical was not used for making medicines,” Rizwan Khan, a former director of the Danas Pharmaceutical Company, said in his statement as approver before the Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF), according to an ANF official.
“Around Rs7 billion were earned from smuggling the huge consignment of ephedrine to Iran,” the official quoted Khan as saying.
Khan said a smuggler, who he identified as Kaka Khan, from Quetta smuggled the chemical to Iran.
Khan, who is currently on pre-arrest bail, informed investigators that Rs6 million were paid to officials from the federal health ministry in 2010 as bribe to acquire the ephedrine quota for local production of medicines.
A special judge of control of narcotics substances court on July 6 had referred Khan to the ANF after he approached the court for recording his statement.
Khan’s statement will provide evidence about misuse of the huge quota of ephedrine granted to two pharmaceutical companies in 2010, the official said.
The Danas Pharmaceutical Company was allocated 2,500 kilogrammes quota of ephedrine and Berlex Limited was granted 6,500 kilogrammes quota of the controlled chemical by the director general health.
Former director general health Dr Rasheed Jumma has already turned approver against Ali Musa Gillani, son of former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gillani, former health minister Makhdoom Shahabuddin and former heath secretary Khushnood Akhtar Lashari.
Jumma has stated that these people used their influence to allow the quota to the companies in question.
The consumption of the huge quantity of ephedrine has been a mystery for the investigators after the two pharmaceutical companies failed to satisfy ANF about usage of the chemical.
Danas said it used ephedrine in Metone tablets and Berlex said it used the drug to make Etone tablets, but they could not provide data of where the tablets were distributed and sold.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 11th, 2012.