Investigations into betel nut smuggling hit snags

KARACHI: The investigation agencies investigating the betel nut smuggling cases are facing severe difficulties as the department is protecting senior officers and making other officials escape goats, which has derailed the entire investigation process.

Investigations agencies are facing severe problems in investigating the cases of betel nut smuggling through MCC Port Qasim and MCC Appraisement West, MCC Preventive.

Recently Appraising Officer Shahid Murad of MCC Appraisement West was arrested for alleged involvement in betel nut clearance. An official said Shahid Murad had been working as per routine and did not come to work specially for these consignments of betel nut which were illegally cleared. Shahid Murad after dropping his kids to school reached the Custom House and activated his ID as a routine since long.

Sources said Appraising Officer Shahid Murad was arrested in haste on the instructions of Chief Collector without any inquiry or investigation. Sources said Shahid Murad was actually made escape goat to protect a senior officer.

Intelligence sources said that they wanted to investigate the Chief Collector because the Chief Collector pressurized the staff not to examine consignments through yellow channel and also directed the staff not to call documents for the clearance of the consignments as was happening in the green channel. However, they could not investigate the officer due to obvious reasons.

Sources said a Deputy Collector Saleem Ranjha did not close the ID of an Appraiser Najeeb who had gone on leave. Najeeb’s ID was also misused.

Assistant Collector Tariq at MCC Port Qasim was posted at QICT Examination as the first posting, which is an abnormal practice and then several suspicious consignments were cleared from there. Now Assistant Collector is transferred to CIU MCC Port Qasim.

It was known that one person in Dubai is running this betel nut scam from Dubai and he makes all the deals with FBR officers and it is said several officers had bank accounts in Dubai where their cut was deposited.

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