LAHORE: Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has blocked over 100 fake and ‘benami’ bank accounts of 40 main figures of the sugar mafia in a massive crackdown in Punjab and Sindh.
According to sources, the FIA has launched an investigation against the sugar cartel over fraud of Rs110 billion. Sources famous sugar mill owners earned the money through Satta on the sugar.
The FIA has formed several teams to launch a massive crackdown against the sugar mafia. The agency has recovered evidence from seized 32 mobile phones and laptops.
According to sources, the sugar mafia increased the price of sugar through speculation (Satta Bazi) and creating an artificial shortage of sugar in the country.
Sources said that the speculation (Satta Bazi) is being supported by all major sugar groups of the country including Tareen and Sharif, Hamza, Thal and alliance groups.
The sugar mafia hiked the commodity’s ex-mill price from Rs 70 per kilogram to Rs 90 during the past year and earned over Rs 110 billion through Satta, the sources added.
In a letter to the FIA chapter in Karachi, the FIA Lahore has highlighted the role of the sugar Satta mafia in the illegally inflated price of sugar across the country. FIA Lahore has delivered details of 23 key persons involved in sugar Satta dealings in the port city to the FIA Karachi.
Those involved in the illegal business, have been named as Danish, Furqan Baba, Khemchand Dani, Devidas Hyderabad, Jay Kumar, Javed Thara, Haji Zameer, Hareesh Kumar, Mahesh Kumar, Vishal Kalara, Rohit Chunni Lal, Satiapal Kalara, Santosh Kumar, Raja Chunni Lal, Jyuti Prakash, Pavan Siblani, Dayaldas, Prem Kumar, Dileep Devnani, Devdas, Ravi Koreja, Nanak Ram Denani, Roshan Lal and Mangal Ram aka Jugal Kishore.
“All 23 persons have been affiliated with Pakistan Sugar Group, Sugar Merchants and Sugar Traders Group,” the FIA Lahore said in the letter.
On Friday, the Punjab Food Department had issued a formal notification after the in-principle approval of the Cabinet imposing strict restrictions on sugar traders in connection with its probe into a steep hike in its price in the province.
According to the notification issued under Sugar Supply Chain Management Order 2021, the Cane Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner will have full authority to take action and sell in case of a sugar shortage.
If the stock of sugar decreases, the Deputy Commissioners will have to be informed, the notification said, adding under the new law, no dealer or wholesaler will be able to buy sugar without registration.
Warehouses of sugar mills and dealers will be registered and only an authorized dealer would be able to buy and sell sugar, the authorities said. Besides, no factory will be able to sell sugar to unregistered dealers, wholesalers and brokers. The entire system of buying and selling sugar can now be regulated.
Earlier, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had conducted raids at the residences of a number of sugar dealers in various cities of Punjab in connection with its probe into a steep hike in the price of the commodity last year and nabbed a gang allegedly part of a powerful sugar mafia.
According to sources in the FIA, the gang helped in creating a shortage of the commodity through hoarding – a fake scarcity that resulted in the increase of the mill price of sugar from Rs70 to Rs90 in just one year.
The mafia also allegedly minted Rs110billion through illegal speculation and used hundreds of fake bank accounts to transfer the ill-gotten money. The sources claimed that the gang was apparently backed by large sugar mills owned by political personalities.