LAHORE: A special court for Control of Narcotics Substance (CNS) on Friday denied post-arrest bail to former law minister Rana Sanaullah Khan in a 15kg heroin recovery case while released his five co-suspects (driver and private security men) on bail.
District and Sessions Judge Khalid Bashir heard the bail petitions as duty judge of the CNS court. A legal team comprising Zahid Bokhari, Azam Nazir Tarar and Farhad Ali Shah represented the defence while prosecutor Kashif Saleem argued on behalf of the Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF).
At the outset of the hearing, a defence counsel argued that the case was politically motivated and based on mala fide intention. He said the recovery of narcotics attributed to the lawmaker was just eyewash.
Five co-suspects released on bail
He said the prosecution had no independent witness of the alleged recovery from Mr Khan while a state minister and ANF chief had at a press conference claimed to possess evidence of the arrest and the recovery.
He also rejected a stance of the prosecution that the video of the alleged recovery could not be made as public had gathered at the scene and there was a possibility of law and order situation.
He wondered that the ANF team had enough time to weigh a bag on the scene allegedly recovered from Mr Khan but had no time to shoot the search. He also questioned over a three-hour delay in registration of the FIR.
The counsel said the FIR claimed that the ANF raiding team had opened door of Mr Khan’s vehicle.
Whereas, he said, the driver of Mr Khan had opened the door from inside as doors of a bulletproof vehicle could not be opened from outside.
He argued that the whole case revolved around only three officials of the ANF, including the complainant. “How a complainant can assume the role of investigator?” the counsel asked the court. He said the FIR on the face of it was a pack of lies and needed a detailed inquiry.
“This case is nothing but a political victimisation,” the counsel reiterated adding that Mr Khan had already expressed apprehensions of his arrest multiple times on different television programmes.
“Seems I have been listening to a political speech,” the prosecutor taunted the defence before resuming his arguments.
He said the prosecution had a complete record of every second from the time of arrest to registration of the FIR. He said writing the statements of witnesses took considerable time.
Justifying the absence of video evidence, he said the accomplices of the lawmaker scuffled with the personnel and attempted to foil the arrest. They also threatened the raiding team with guns, he added. The prosecutor said the suspect himself spotted the bag of heroin and handed it over to the personnel. He asked the court to dismiss bail petitions of the suspects.
The duty judge, however, dismissed the bail plea of Mr Khan and granted bail to five co-suspects subject to furnishing surety bonds of Rs200,000 each. They include Usman Ahmad, Sibtain Haider, Muhammad Akram, Umar Farooq and Amir Rustam.
Advocate Tarar told Dawn that the bail dismissal decision would be challenged in the Lahore High Court after due consultation.
The ANF had arrested the PML-N leader on July 1 on his way to Lahore from his native city Faisalabad near the Ravi Toll Plaza on Motorway. The force claimed to have recovered 15kg heroin from his vehicle.
The FIR was lodged under Section 9 (C) of the Control of Narcotic Substances Act 1997, which carries death penalty or life imprisonment or a jail-term that may extend to 14 years along with a fine upto Rs1 million.
Other provisions of the Act and the PPC were also added in the FIR to charge the co-suspects for attacking the personnel and obstructing them from performing official duty.
Published in Dawn, September 21st, 2019