KARACHI:  Three major importers of pharmaceutical material have been barred from leaving the country, as their names are included in Exit Control List on the request of Customs authorities.

Ali Muhammad Chandna, Muhammad Hussain Rab Jani and Ziauddin who are under investigations by the Research and Development  (R & D Cell) of  Collectorate of Appraisement East were restricted to travel abroad as evidence against them suggests that they are part of a dirty business of spurious and substandard drugs cartel.

According to sources close to the investigations, as a result of banking data retrieved during investigations, investigators are closing in on “ Master Mind “ who would be nabbed soon.

The pharmaceutical companies purchasing the imported raw material from companies, agents, sub-agents of the above named three persons have been included into the investigation. This would help in determining the volume of the illicit trade, the sources said.

The accused are involved in the import of pharmaceutical raw material under the garb of engineered trade names of chemicals like SDO & ACIC preservatives. They have imported restricted goods which are importable by the pharmaceutical industries holding valid manufacturing license in accordance with the provisions of Drug (Imports and Exports) Rules 1976) which are governed under Import Policy Order.

According to modus operandi, the accused declares/ claim lowest value and thus have evaded Customs duty and taxes inflicting a loss of Rs800 million to the government exchequer.

The imported material was got released by paying less value in the names of family member including women to evade arrest. The material was then sold to the manufacturers who made substandard drugs or to small factory owners who churn out spurious drugs playing with the lives of innocent citizens, patients.

The bails from court of law and other legal interventions so far have delayed the arrest of the accused but now courts have also started noticing that the accused are hiding behind the bail and other relief given to them.

The investigators claim a major break-through and believe that mastermind of the cartel would soon be exposed before the public.

Investigations into this case have been expedited on the directives of FBR. Collector Appraisement East Majid Yousafani is personally supervising the case. Principal Appraiser Mohammad Ibrahim and IO Mohammad Ashfaq are pursing the investigations.