PHC moved against manufacturing of ‘counterfeit’ cigarettes

Published August 12, 2021
A file photo of the Peshawar High Court building. — PPI/File
A file photo of the Peshawar High Court building. — PPI/File

PESHAWAR: A director of Mardan-based tobacco company has moved the Peshawar High Court seeking directives for different government departments, including Federal Board of Revenue, Federal Investigation Agency and others, to take action against the company over the alleged involvement of some of its directors in the manufacturing of counterfeit cigarettes of popular brands.

In the petition, Mohammad Faridoon Rehman requested the court to freeze the operation of the company until the conclusion of an ongoing inquiry by the FBR and decisions on other cases pending against the company.

The petitioner said he was a director at the Indus Tobacco Company, which had established an industrial unit in Shankar area of Mardan district.

He claimed that all its machinery was purchased by the petitioner and at present, he had a claim of around Rs180 million against the company.

The petitioner named four directors of the company alleging that he was rendered almost non -functional by them in the matters of the company, production, sale and purchase, etc. as he had protested that the company should not manufacture counterfeit cigarette in the name of brands of other company to further sell it in the open market or to infringe trade mark, trade names of the other manufactures.

Director seeks order to freeze tobacco company’s operation

He claimed that against the illegal business of the company, various FIRs had been registered in many police station and every time the petitioner had also to suffer humiliation, disrespect and embarrassment.

In the petition filed through advocate Waqif Saleem, he said on Aug 2, 2021, the FBR exercised its power in term of Rule 28A(7) of the Federal Excise Rule, 2005, constituted a team of the officers of Inland Revenue and authorised it to have free access to the premises of the company for the purpose of sealing the premises. The team sealed the premises later.

Few months ago, he alleged that the FBR conducted its inspection on the factory but the officer concerned was put into illegal confinement, humiliated and harassed and such happening was communicated by the concerned officer to his department as well.

He contended that the Security Exchange Commission of Pakistan had failed to discharge its obligations towards the Indus Tobbaco Company as required under the law.

Similarly, he said despite registration of various cases on charges of counterfeit cigarette manufacturing against the company, the Intellectual Property Organization had not taken action against the culprits.

The petitioner prayed the court to direct the respondents, including different government departments, including FBR, FIA and others, not to take any adverse action against him for the wrongs committed by other directors.

He also requested the court to direct the federal government to take appropriate disciplinary action against the officers of the government departments involved in facilitating the manufacturing and sale of counterfeit cigarettes of the established brands by the company.

Published in Dawn, August 12th, 2021

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