BAHAWALPUR: A team comprising personnel of intelligence agencies, police and officials of the provincial industries department on Monday raided a sugar mills owned by the Sharif family near Channigoth, about 70kms from here, “recovering more than 55,000 sugar bags hoarded there”.
Police and other sources confided to Dawn that the raid was conducted on a tip-off provided by the special branch of police.
The sources said a team led by the assistant commissioner of Ahmedpur East and comprising district officer of the industries department and personnel of special branch of police and other law-enforcement agencies raided the mills’ godown and seized the sugar.
They said the team sealed the godown after seizing the sugar bags worth millions of rupees.
The sugar mills at Channigoth belonging to the Sharif family had not operated during the recently-concluded crushing season, as it had been lying closed due to litigation.
None of the government departments officially issued any press release about the recovery of the allegedly hoarded sugar stock.
Mills’ official rejects hoarding claim
However, a spokesman for the district police officer, Jam Sajid, confirmed that a raid was conducted on the mills. He said the godown was sealed after the raid.
He claimed that local police had not been informed about any action to be taken against the mills management. He said the district administration was handling the matter.
A private TV channel quoted the Ittefaq Sugar Mills general manager as saying that the stock was more than two seasons old and could not be used due to litigation. He rejected the hoarding element, according to Geo News.
In September 2017, the Lahore High Court ruled that Ittefaq Sugar Mills (Channigoth), Haseeb Waqas Sugar Mills (Muzaffargarh) and Chaudhry Sugar Mills (Rahim Yar Khan) — all owned by members of the Sharif family — be repatriated to their previous locations within three months.
The LHC announced the verdict on a petition filed by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf leader and JDW Sugar Mills owner Jahangir Tareen, who argued that the mills were shifted to new locations despite a ban that had been previously imposed on relocating the sugar mills.
Earlier in March 2017, the LHC had ordered sealing of two of the three mills owned by the Sharif family.
The Supreme Court had, in September 2018, dismissed appeals filed by the Sharif family challenging the LHC verdict that ordered relocation of the three sugar mills from south Punjab to their previous locations in central Punjab.
Published in Dawn, February 25th, 2020