ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court of Pakistan Wednesday directed Punjab cane commissioner to proceed with the auction of Brothers Sugar Mills for defaulting on billions of rupees payments to farmers and banks.

A two-member bench of the apex court headed by Justice Maqbool Baqar conducted hearing of the banks and the growers’ petitions against the mills.

During the hearing, Additional Advocate General Punjab Chaudhry Faisal Farid submitted a progress report about the auction of Brothers Sugar Mills. According to it, on 03-03-2020 the auction was held again in Committee Room of Deputy Commissioner’s office, Kasur, as the amount offered by the buyers in earlier exercise was below the reserve price of Rs6 billion.

In 2016, the Lahore High Court (LHC) ordered the Punjab cane commissioner to seal the mills for defaulting on Rs840 million payments to cane growers. The court also ordered that the sugar stocks worth Rs700 million be paid to the growers.

However, the LHC had not entertained the banks writ petition against the mills for their claims. The total liability of the Brothers Sugar Mills is more than Rs5 billion. The banks subsequently approached the Supreme Court.

The report mentioned that three bidders namely Muhammad Islam, Manzoor Khan and M/s Madina Sugar Mill through Sohail Ahmed participated in the bidding process. The final bid of Rs4.25 billion was offered by Madina Sugar Mill, which is Rs200 million more than the last bid dated 28-01-2020.

Ch Faisal informed the bench that the management of M/s Brothers Sugar Mills still did not deposit any amount to discharge the growers’ liabilities. He further told that chief executive of M/s Brothers Sugar Mills is under arrest for defiance of the court order dated 12-06-2019.

The due amount against Darya Khan Sugar Mills was Rs57 million, Patoki Sugar Mills Rs591 million had made the payment.

On the last hearing (February 12) the bench had ordered; “The cane-commissioner should ensure that no impediment occurs in the exercise anymore and the mill is sold following the procedure as prescribed by law so that claimants’ claim be satisfied in accordance with law.”

Later, the bench adjourned the hearing till March 25 for further proceedings.