LAHORE: The Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) on Tuesday submitted challan against former provincial law minister and PML-N Punjab president Rana Sanaullah before the trial court in the heroin smuggling case.
The investigating officer along with a prosecution team submitted the challan before administrative judge of the special court for Control of Narcotics Substance (CNS) as the relevant judge, Masood Arshad, was on leave.
The federal law minister had already requested the Lahore High Court (LHC) to retrieve the services of judge Arshad and nominate any other district & sessions judge for the appointment as presiding officer of the special court for CNS.
In its letter to the LHC registrar, the law ministry had stated that judge Arshad had issues regarding his impartiality and integrity. The ministry had also stopped the judge from performing his judicial work.
However, the LHC is yet to nominate a new judge for the CNS special court.
The ANF had arrested Rana Sanaullah Khan on his way to Lahore from his native city of Faisalabad near the Ravi Toll Plaza on motorway, claiming to have seized 15kg heroin from his vehicle. A special team of the force had also arrested five others, including the driver and security guards of the PML-N leader.
The ANF registered the first information report (FIR) under section 9 (C) of Control of Narcotic Substances Act 1997, which carries death penalty or life imprisonment or a jail term that might extend to 14 years along with a fine up to Rs1m. The section states that if quantity of the narcotic exceeds 10kg, the punishment shall not be less than life imprisonment. Some other provisions of the Act and the Pakistan Penal Code were also added to the FIR to charge the suspects for attacking the personnel of the ANF and obstructing them from performing their official duty.
The FIR said when asked about the narcotics, Rana Sanaullah admitted the possession of heroin, pointed toward a blue suitcase concealed behind his seat. It said the PML-N leader himself unzipped the suitcase, removed a plastic cover in it and showed a plastic bag filled with heroin.
It said the security guards of the former law minister attacked the ANF team and tried to get him released.
However, the ANF personnel overpowered the suspects and shifted them to Cantt office of the force. The other suspects include Usman Ahmad, Sibtain Haider, Muhammad Akram, Umar Farooq and Amir Rustam.
A judicial magistrate, on July 16, had extended judicial remand of Rana Sanaullah and other suspects till July 29, directing the ANF to submit challan of the case before the trial court.
Published in Dawn, July 24th, 2019