LAHORE, Dec 10 (APP):A special court for narcotics control on Saturday acquitted Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah in a 15-kg drug recovery case, registered during the previous government tenure in 2019.
The court also acquitted five co-accused — Usman Ahmad, Muhammad Akram, Sibtain Haider, Amir Rustam and Umer Farooq — in the case.
Presiding Judge Muhammad Naeem Sheikh passed the orders while allowing an acquittal application, filed by Rana Sanaullah and the co-accused.
The defence counsel, on behalf of Rana Sanaullah and others, had filed an acquittal application at the start of the proceedings. He submitted that the FIR was registered with mala fide intentions and it was based on a concocted and fabricated story.
He submitted that nothing was recovered from the accused at the time of arrest, adding that prosecution could not provide evidence to establish the case against his clients. He submitted that witnesses of the case were making statements in the public. The witnesses claimed that they were just nominated as the witnesses in the case, whereas they did not have any knowledge of the facts, he added.
The counsel further submitted that these witnesses did not join the investigations and they would record their statements in the court.
At this, the Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) prosecutors did not oppose the contentions of the defence counsel and offered to produce two recovery witnesses in the court.
The court adjourned the hearing for a short while and directed for producing the witnesses.
Later, as the proceedings resumed, ANF Assistant Director Imtiaz Ahmed and Inspector Ehsaan Azam, appeared before the court and rejected the prosecution allegations against Rana Sanaullah and the other accused. They stated that no drugs were recovered in their presence. “We never saw any sort of drugs being recovered from the accused,” they added.
The witnesses also submitted affidavits, which were signed by two prosecutors present in the court.
At this stage, a prosecutor also submitted that he did not want to produce third recovery witness as he was also negating the prosecution story.
To which, the defence counsel Advocate Farhad Ali Shah submitted that the prosecution had no case to prove after retraction of the key witnesses. He submitted that Assistant Director Imtiaz Ahmed and Inspector Ehsaan Azam were witnesses of the recovery memo, adding that it would be useless to proceed further in the matter. He pleaded with the court to acquit the accused as no evidence was available against them.
Subsequently, the court agreed with the stance of the defence counsel and acquitted all the accused.
On July 1, 2019, the ANF officials arrested Rana Sanaullah from Islamabad-Lahore Motorway near Sukheki, while he was traveling from Faisalabad to Lahore.
The ANF had registered an FIR against the PML-N leader under 9-C, 15 and 17 of the Control of Narcotic Substances Act. It was alleged that the ANF recovered 15-kilogram heroin and other drugs from Rana Sanaullah’s car, whereas the operation was conducted on a tip-off.
The Lahore High Court had granted bail to Rana Sanaullah in the case.