KARACHI: An accountability court on Wednesday convicted seven persons, including a textile mill owner, and imposed a collective fine of Rs450 million on them in a reference pertaining to illegally selling coal worth Rs2.5 billion in the open market.

Accountability Court-I Judge Abdul Ghani Soomro pronounced his verdict reserved after recording evidence and final arguments from both sides.

The judge cancelled the bail of former president of the Hyderabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (HCCI) and owner of M/s Fateh Textile Mills Goharullah, its director Muhammad Saleem, general manager Hamid Mehmood Nasir, and Hafeez-ur-Rehman, Shakeel Ahmed and Haji Abdul Razzik of the Friends Mining Group (FMG).

They were arrested and sent to the prison to serve out their sentences.

However, the court acquitted then secretary to Sindh chief minister Sohail Akbar Shah, then director general of the mines and minerals development department Abdul Rasheed Solangi and FMG official Faqirdad Khoso as the prosecution failed to prove its case against them.

Special public prosecutor Syed Dilshad Hussain argued that M/s Fateh Textile Mills was granted a mining lease in respect of the compact block of 8,626 acres in the Lakhra coal field at Jamshoro with the stipulation to install washing plant within two years after the initial one-year period was extended and the 200 MW coal-fired power plant was to be set up within five years in terms of a memorandums of understanding dated April 15, 2005.

But, the textile mills failed to install the proper washing plant at the required place.

The prosecutor further argued that the mills in connivance with the FMG sold thousands of tonnes of coal in the open market under the garb of a permission that was actually granted only for the sale of the surplus coal and that too till the functioning of the power plant.

Published in Dawn, December 1st, 2022

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