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LHC finds 'lapses' in prosecution case against Sanaullah

Devil Soul

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LHC finds 'lapses' in prosecution case against Sanaullah
Rana Bilal | Dawn.comDecember 26, 2019
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Almost six months after his arrest, Rana Sanullah was granted post-arrest bail on Tuesday in a drug case filed by the Anti-Narcotics Force. — DawnNewsTV/File
In its written order granting post-arrest bail to PML-N leader Rana Sanaullah in a narcotics case filed against him by the Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF), the Lahore High Court said "lapses in the prosecution case" were visible and indicate that the "guilt of the petitioner (Sanaullah) needs further probe and his case calls for further inquiry".

Almost six months after his arrest in July, Sanullah was granted bail on Tuesday. A detailed order in this regard was released earlier today.

Key points:

  • LHC finds lapses in prosecution case
  • No recovery memo prepared
  • IO made no request for physical remand
  • Political victimisation an "open secret" in country
Justice Chaudhry Mushtaq Ahmad, who authored the verdict, wrote:

ARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER AD
"Lapses in the prosecution case noted above are visible on surface of record like non-preparation of recovery memos at the place of recovery, non-investigation regarding involvement of petitioner in running a network of smuggling of narcotics and sending only 20 grams of contraband out of the total quantity of 15 kilograms heroin allegedly recovered from possession of petitioner do indicate prima facie that guilt of the petitioner needs further probe and his case calls for further inquiry."

Additionally, the judge noted that other co-accused in the case were granted post-arrest bail by the trial court, an order which was not appealed by the prosecution.

In its written order, the LHC also disposed of the ANF's special prosecutor's objections to the maintainability of the petition.

The judge recounted the events of the PML-N Punjab president's arrest based on the contents of the First Information Report (FIR) and other material available on the record.

As per the written order, the 21-member raiding party was constituted after receiving information about the arrival of Sanaullah at Ravi Toll Plaza in Lahore. Sanaullah, along with his gunmen (five in number), were stopped at the toll plaza and all of them were disarmed by the raiding party.

Most strikingly, the LHC in its order said that at the place of recovery, no recovery memo regarding the allegedly recovered narcotics was prepared , rather the accused and the case property was taken to the police station where the necessary documentation was carried out.

"It is mentioned in FIR that gunmen of the petitioner started grappling with members of raiding party in order to rescue the petitioner forcibly but they were overpowered and disarmed," the order stated, adding: "Thereafter a suitcase was found lying in the vehicle and on weighing, it came to 21.5 kg but said suitcase along with petitioner and his gunmen, as well as vehicles, was brought at Police Station, Regional Directorate ANF Lahore and proceedings were conducted at said police station including preparation of recovering memos and sealed parcels etc."

Additionally, the order noted that the sample parcel of 20 grams of the 15kg of 'heroin' was prepared for sending to the office of the chemical examiner.

"Explanation furnished regarding non-preparation of documents at the place of recovery was that people passing in their vehicles started gathering at Ravi Toll Plaza, Lahore, due to which accused as well as case property along with vehicles were brought to police station," the order stated, adding that in the presence of the raiding party there was "hardly an occasion" not to conduct proceedings at the place of recovery.

"So [the] explanation furnished for not conducting proceedings at the spot was neither plausible nor convincing ," Justice Ahmad added.

Justice Ahmad said that when the accused were produced before the court the next day, the investigating officer had made no request for physical remand in order to investigate them about the network allegedly operating under the supervision of the present petitioner (Sanaullah).

"[...] Indicates that the investigating agency was not interested in unearthing the activities of the petitioner regarding smuggling of narcotics," the judge stated.

Regarding the claim that the case was registered because the petitioner is a vocal member of an opposition party, the judge said: "Though such argument at bail stage is not attached much weight for the reason that deeper appreciation at the stage of bail is not permissible nor desirable.

"However, in the context of [the] petitioner being a vocal political leader of [an] opposition party, this aspect of the case could not be ignored as political victimisation in our country is an open secret."

The written order stated that the seriousness of an allegation is not grounds for the refusal of bail if "on merits it is found that prosecution's case is doubtful as benefit of doubt always goes to the accused even at bail stage".

"Incarceration of accused before conviction in cases of doubtful nature is never approved by the courts," Justice Ahmed stated.

No govt interference in Sanaullah's case
Addressing a press conference on Wednesday, Minister for States and Frontier Regions (Safron) and Narcotics Control Shehryar Afridi said that neither he nor Prime Minister Imran Khan had arrested Sanaullah, adding that there had been "no interference" or political victimisation in the PML-N leader's legal proceedings.

Both the state minister and the ANF legal team held separate press conferences yesterday.

Read: Minister plays down Rana Sana’s bail in drug case

While Afridi claimed that he had seen the "footage" before the evidence was provided to the court, the ANF legal team was of the opinion that the video was not a piece of entire evidence, as the case would be decided on the basis of other evidence such as the seizure, chemical examination report, statements of investigating officer and 15 eyewitnesses.

"In drug cases, seizure is important," said Advocate Raja Inam Amin Minhas, leading the ANF team of prosecutors, while addressing a press conference following the presser of the state minister.

Following Sanaullah's arrest in July, addressing a press conference alongside ANF chief Major General Arif Malik, Afridi had said that Sanaullah was arrested after his three-week surveillance and the ANF had complete and sufficient evidence to prove his involvement in the drug business.

The minister said the PML-N leader had been arrested on the basis of a lead from a person who had been arrested at Faisalabad airport.

"All the movements of Rana Sanaullah Sahib and his vehicle were observed and gauged at all levels. Video footage and other things are with us," the minister had said, while refusing to give further details saying they might harm investigation and key witnesses. He had said all the evidence would be presented before courts.

Rana Sanaullah's arrest
The former Punjab law minister was arrested by the ANF Lahore team on July 1 while he was travelling from Faisalabad to Lahore near the Ravi Toll Plaza on motorway.

ANF claimed to have seized 15kg heroin from his vehicle. A special team of the force had also arrested five others, including the driver and security guards of the PML-N leader.

The first information report (FIR) was lodged under Section 9(C) of the Control of Narcotic Substances Act 1997, which carries death penalty or life imprisonment or a jail term that may extend to 14 years, along with a fine up to Rs1 million.

The Lahore High Court granted Sanaullah bail on Tuesday after almost six months in detention.
 

Dr. Strangelove

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Lohar High Court doesnt needs evidence of any Wrongdoing to give relief to thugs and criminals. Giving Relief to them is the only reason Lohar high court exists.
 

Musafir117

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Courts need to know first the difference between a video and footage:coffee:
This issue is main in this case
 

AZ1

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Allah ko jaan deni hai but prosecution ko evidence nahi dena ,such a shame
Everything submitted after the arrest of sana ullah in 17 days trial was going to start.
Then judge transfer to somewhere else and if you think LHc will provide you any justice then go back to sleep kid.
Could couldn't find anything even whole media was showing video fo those 11 forces men killing parents in front of their kids (Sahiwal case) and freed all those 11 guys without blink of an eye.
 

Verve

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What a wonderful judgement when prosecution has fully complied with the process and submitted all documents, and that the law states no bail can be given for crime that has death or life sentence.

Judges won't run the trial on purpose and the judges give bail using it as a reason.
 

tarrar

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Courts of Pakistan are meant to help the corrupt, incompetent & corrupt politicians along with hardcore criminals and terrorists. As it is said the b***he's of rich.
 

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