Shafaqna Pakistan: Concluding preliminary investigation into a multi-billion sugar scam in Sindh, the Federal Investigation Agency on Tuesday charge-sheeted two suspects for fraud and money laundering.
The suspects were arrested by the FIA’s commercial banking circle earlier this month during a countrywide crackdown against the sugar mill owners and dealers allegedly involved in the artificial increase in the commodity’s price.
The charge sheet, submitted in the court of Judicial Magistrate Dur-e-Shahwar, said that the investigators discovered 16 WhatsApp groups in which the sugar mill owners, brokers and dealers colluded as a mafia to manipulate the market and dishonesty, minting Rs110 billion. It said that the suspects hoarded the sugar and spread lies about its impending shortage, hence raising its price. It said that suspects played Satta (price-fixation scheme) on the commodity.
“The sugar stocks were lying unsold or sold/unlifted in the mills and the demand-supply gap of the essential commodity was ‘artificial’,” the report said. “Meanwhile, the ex-mill price of sugar went from Rs69 to Rs90 in March.”
“It has been discovered that they were laundering the crime proceeds of sugar Satta through various fake/benami/third party accounts and assets,” it said and added, “Over 23 satta players of Karachi/Sindh were actively participating in the offence with the respective sugar mills and in active connivance with Satta players of Punjab.”
It said that the 35MB data, containing 17,500 pages, had been recovered from three WhatsApp groups, which were mainly used in the scam while cheque books and deposit books and other evidence was collected from the offices of suspects.