LHC stops FBR to conduct Tareen sugar Mills audit

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Amraiz Khan
Lahore

The Lahore High Court has stopped the Federal Board of Revenue from auditing of PTI leader Jehangir Tareen’s JDW Sugar Mills.

The court took up a request filed by Tareen against the audit notice and issued a restraining order to the tax collector. It also sought a response from the body.

Nominating the bureau and others as respondents, Tareen informed the court the FBR had sent a notice to his business on May 21 seeking income tax-related documents and records from the tax year 2015.

The FBR does not have the authority to conduct an audit after five years, he contended.

“The time to conduct the audit for 2015 has passed,” the petitioner told the court, adding the FBR notice was illegal and should be declared null and void.

Following this, Justice Kamran ordered the FBR to halt the audit and submit a response to the matter on June 9.

The JDW Sugar Mills comprise three units, two of which are located in Rahim Yar Khan and one in Ghotki. It accounts for 17% of the country’s total sugar production.

A sugar inquiry report was issued in May 2020. It revealed the way sugar barons had cheated farmers, benefited from subsidies, and created conditions so that the price of sugar could go up. Tareen was among the people accused of benefitting the most from the crisis.

The report said that six major groups control 51% of the total sugar production.

Tareen’s JDW Mills have the biggest share that is 20% of the total production.

In March, the Federal Investigation Agency registered two cases against Tareen and his son Ali Tareen on charges of corporate fraud and money laundering.

The cases were registered under sections 406 (criminal breach of trust), 420 (cheating of public shareholders), and 109 of the Pakistan Penal Code — with sections 3 and 4 of the Anti-Money Laundering Act, 2010 — on March 22.

One of the cases claims Tareen transferred Rs3.14 billion from the accounts of his JDW-Group to Faruki Pulp Mills Limited, a company said to be owned by his son and a relative.

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