ISLAMABAD: A day after Jehangir Khan Tareen submitted a reply to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), the Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) raided premises of JDW Sugar Mills in Lahore and impounded record from the possession of one senior official, The News reported Saturday.
The competition commission, however, did not mention the name of the sugar mills in its statement but the official sources confirmed to the publication that the raid was conducted on the Tareen-owned sugar mills during which record was also seized.
The CCP has been conducting an inquiry to ascertain any collusive practices for earning lofty profits as the prices of sweetener went up and crossed Rs100 per kg in the local market.
According to the official statement issued on Friday, the CCP carried out a search and inspection of a sugar mills head office in Lahore, to impound proofs of the group’s suspected involvement in anti-competitive activities in violation of the Competition Act, 2010.
As part of an ongoing enquiry into the possible anti-competitive activities in the sugar industry, the CCP on Sept 14, 2020, carried out a search and inspection of the Pakistan Sugar Mills Association’s Lahore and Islamabad offices and impounded PSMA’s record including the correspondence done through letters, emails, and WhatsApp messages, among various members and office bearers of PSMA.
The impounded data included the exchange of emails among a senior official of one of the sugar mills (a member of PSMA) and PSMA Punjab zone office bearers regarding sensitive commercial information such as mill-wise, district-wise sugar stock position, and even the quantity of cane crushed, sugar produced, recovery percentage, carry forward old/raw sugar, total sugar, quantity sold, balance and sold percentage.
Moreover, an analysis of the WhatsApp messages exchanged in a group of PSMA officials, the same senior official of that sugar mills was found to be in constant communication with regard to price and stock-related data of sugar mills.
The impounded data indicated the senior official’s continued involvement in sharing/receiving sensitive information regarding sugar industry since 2012 when he was nominated as the focal person for coordinating the sugar stock position by the sugar millers.
The CCP suspects that the compilation, consolidation, and distribution of sensitive commercial information using the PSMA’s platform could lead to possible proof/corroboration of collusive activity/cartelisation that is violative of the Competition Act.
The search team has impounded the relevant print and electronic material from the above-mentioned sugar mills premises for further scrutiny, the statement concluded.
Tareen, son skip FIA hearing
Though it is not clear when the PTI leader will appear before the Combined Investigation Team of the FIA in person in an investigation against him and his son Ali Khan Tareen, he submitted his written statement to the investigation team on Thursday.
The FIA is holding an investigation against Tareen and his son for alleged money-laundering and a sugar crisis scam.
Tareen is currently in England and had not appeared before the FIA team on the previous hearing, claiming that he is undergoing medical check-ups, tests and consultations with doctors in relation to an ongoing medical condition.
Earlier, Ali Tareen had also skipped his appearance before the CIT in the same investigation as he is also in England nowadays with his father. However, his written reply has been received by the FIA. Both had left the country after the Sugar Commission report had surfaced.