ISLAMABAD: Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on Tuesday obtained the physical remand of four officers of the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (Drap).
The officers allegedly issued a fake drug registration letter to a pharmaceutical company.
On the other hand, a large number of officials of Drap protested the registration of criminal cases against the officers. However, the chief executive officer of Drap, Dr Mohammad Aslam, said those not involved in any malpractice should not worry.
On November 8, the Ministry of National Health Services in a statement said it had moved against the officers in a fake registration letter case. It said the fake registration letter was issued for Everlong, a tablet used to enhance male potency, without adopting the standard procedures.
In March, Secretary Ministry of Health Ayub Sheikh constituted a three-member committee, comprising senior joint secretary Dr Amer Sheikh, deputy secretary Sanaul Islam and director admin Drap Dr Raja Mustafa Hyder, to probe the matter.
They are accused of issuing fake letter to a firm for drug registration
The committee held the four officers along with a stenotypist of Drap directly responsible for the issuance of the letter and recommended that they be proceeded against under the Efficiency and Discipline rules leading to their dismissal from service.
The ministry later referred the case to the FIA for holding further investigations against the accused.
The accused are: Tariq Siddique, deputy DG registration, Faisal Shahzad, deputy drug controller, Bashir Ahmed Bhatti, statistical officer, Khurshid Ahmad, assistant pricing section and Mohammad Changez, stenotypist, the statement said.
The FIA arrested the four officers on Monday and sought their physical remand from the court of the FIA judge, Abdul Ghafoor Kakar, on Tuesday. However, the stenotypist has not been arrested.
An official of Drap requesting not to be identified said the arrests panicked the employees of the authority.
“We deal with thousands of people in the pharmaceutical industry and they know us. We know that our colleagues are innocent but because of the decision of the Drap management and ministry, they would be facing humiliation.”
He said if the ministry did not address their concerns, the employees would go on a strike and may also seek their transfer from Drap.
Secretary Health Ayub Sheikh could not be contacted for comments.
However, CEO Drap Dr Mohammad Aslam told Dawn that it was just a rumour that the employees planned to go on a strike.
“The fact is that, a fake registration letter was issued with the involvement of different officers. So we held an inquiry and it was recommendation of the inquiry committee that the case should be handed over to the FIA.”
Dr Aslam said in the past there were four sections of the registration branch and even a section officer was authorised to issue a registration letter. Now rules have been amended and only the chairman or the secretary of the registration board can issue such a letter, he said.
“I just want to say that officials who are not involved in any malpractice should not worry. However, it has been decided to see if some other fake registration letter had been issued or if any record is missing. The FIA will be involved for the recovery of such a record,” he said.
Published in Dawn, November 18th, 2015