ISLAMABAD: The country’s primary investigative body abruptly suspended its inquiry into the sugar mafia, accused of doubling sweetener prices and allegedly accumulating billions through profiteering.
The interim government had initiated the investigation after sugar prices skyrocketed from Rs90 to Rs180 per kg and subsequently surged to Rs200-210 per kg.
Sources within the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) revealed that key brokers and hoarders were summoned, and records from sugar mills were requested. Despite possessing substantial information gathered during a previous probe by the Sugar Inquiry Commission in 2020, the FIA unexpectedly halted proceedings on Tuesday.
It was disclosed that the sugar mafia reportedly earned over Rs550 billion through profiteering, prompting concerns about accountability within the industry. In 2021, the Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) found the Pakistan Sugar Mills Association (PSMA) guilty of cartelization, imposing a Rs44 billion fine, which is yet to be received.
The FIA spokesperson noted the lack of response from higher authorities regarding the abrupt halt in the sugar mafia investigation. Last month, the Lahore High Court ruled in favor of the provincial government’s authority to regulate sugar prices and other essential food items, a decision contested by sugar mills questioning federal jurisdiction.
The abrupt suspension of the investigation raises questions about accountability, legal jurisdiction, and the influence of powerful entities within the sugar industry.