Sugar inquiry commission report declared null and void by SHC

Sindh High Court (SHC) has declared Sugar Inquiry Commission Report as null and void and directed an independent inquiry on the issue, on Monday (today).

The two-member bench of SHC heard the plea against Sugar Inquiry Commission Report filed by sugar mill owners as it held them responsible for sugar price hike and shortage that gripped the country earlier this year.

During the hearing, SHC directed the federal government to order an independent inquiry by Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) or Federal Bureau of Revenue (FBR) to inquire over matter pertaining to sugar price hike and shortage earlier this year.

The development comes as around 20 sugar mill owners had filed a petition against Sugar Inquiry Commission contending that it doesn’t have the essential know-how of the sugar industry and that its report is inaccurate and biased against the sugar mills.

The court had earlier issued a stay order, and directed the government to abstain from taking any action against the sugar mills – the decision however, was overturned by Supreme Court of Pakistan (SC) which then allowed the government to take necessary legal action according to the Sugar Inquiry Commission Report.

The Sugar Inquiry Commission headed by FIA Director-General Wajid Zia, in its report had accused several sugar mills and sugar mill owners of creating an artificial shortage of sugar and profiting from significant price hike as its result.

The report also revealed that 88 sugar mills benefited from illegal subsidies worth up to Rs 29 billion. It further highlighted that JDW Mill – owned by PTI’s Jahangir Tareen was among those who benefited from it as it shares 20 per cent of the total sugar production in the country.