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FIA forms 20 teams to crackdown against sugar mafia

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ISLAMABAD: The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has formed 20 teams to launch a massive crackdown against the sugar mafia for ‘speculative pricing’ and hiking the price of the commodity.

 The FIA has detected Rs110 billion earning by the sugar mafia during the last one year through ‘speculative pricing’ and on Wednesday constituted 20 teams to lay hands on those involved in it.

The crackdown will be launched under Anti-Money Laundering Act and Director FIA Lahore will operation and the investigations. The sugar mafia reportedly hiked the commodity’s ex-mill price from Rs70 per kilogram to Rs90 during the past year and earned over Rs110 billion through speculative pricing (satta).

According to the FIR, the inquiry against the sugar mafia showed that the sugar industry barons, sugar-brokers and their speculative pricing players (satta agents) in active connivance with sugar mills, have transformed into a clandestine mafia.

It has been further revealed that the sugar mafia was involved in creating artificial shortage and raising the rates of the commodity. The sugar mafia had hundreds of fake bank accounts to conceal the money earned through illegal means. The mafia planned to increase sugar prices to Rs110 per kg during the upcoming holy month of Ramazan.

The FIA registered at least two money laundering cases against against 10 major sugar barons including Abid Ali Malik and Khurram Shahzad. The suspects were involved in creating artificial shortage of sugar and raising the price of the commodity in the country.

The FIR said Malik Abad Ali has also been abetted and assisted by owners and officials of various sugar mills and their role will be ascertained during the course of investigation. It added that Khurram Shahzad’s eight fake bank accounts were detected during in an inquiry. The bank accounts were reportedly used to conceal the money earned through speculative pricing.

Prime Minister Imran Khan had shown resentment over the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) for its failure to show any recoveries from the sugar mills owned by the prominent personalities.

The FBR had presented the report showing recoveries of more than Rs400 billion from the sugar mills on the orders of the premier. The report had shown recoveries from the small sugar companies but failed to show any recoveries.