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February 09,2018

Flawed probe: One case against Axact quashed, other in pending

Asad Ibn Hasan

KARACHI: The influence of senior FIA officers, flawed and shadowy investigations into the affairs of the Axact company and its CEO have marred the proceedings of the two cases, quashing one and pushing another into protracted pendency for quashment by a high court. These cases had brought out the suspicious role of the Axact CEO Shoaib Shaikh.

Two cases related to money transactions by Axact through the Hundi channel were registered in 2015. One case was registered by the Commercial Bank Circle under FIR number 51/2015 and the second was registered by the Corporate Crime Circle under FIR number 7/2015.

After registration of the FIRs, arrests were also made but then angels swung into action, who kept pressurising senior FIA officials as well as the investigating officers. It was at their insistence, four public prosecutors were carefully selected to pursue one case.

In the FIR no 51/15, the Axact CEO was accused of transferring an amount of over Rs17 crore through Hundi/Hawala. Surprisingly however, the case could not be heard as all the four public prosecutors would remain absent on the hearing date, at which the court expressed anger.

The trial continued inside the jail and Shoaib Shaikh, despite in the jail, did not appear even for a single hearing. Shoaib could not however, apply for bail as long as the investigating officer who had investigated the whole affair the case, remained posted in the CBC. After around 10 months as soon as the officer was transferred Shoaib's bail plea was submitted. As the four prosecutors kept themselves absent from the hearings, the court approved his bail after arrest of the accused, which had never happened in the history. Following the bail, the four prosecutors recused themselves from contesting the case and filed a quashment plea which was subsequently accepted and the case of over Rs 17-crore Hundi/Hawala was quashed.

The second case related to fake degrees registered under 7/2015 at the Corporate Crime Circle was assigned to investigating officer,Assistant Director Saeed Memon. Memon remained under severe pressure of his director and the angels to dilute the findings of the investigations. During the probe, he had recorded evidences about preparation and sale of fake degrees. He also recorded statements of dozens of Axact employees.

During the hearing, the witnesses, who were Axact employees, retracted from their statements. They told the court that they had not made given any statement to the FIA nor they have nay idea as to what has been submitted on their behalf by the federal agency as they were under FIA custody.

During the investigations, a famous anchor and his wife were also summoned and investigated how could they acquire Masters, MPhil and PhD degrees within one year. During the investigations they confessed to receiving the degrees for payment. But their statements could not become part of the judicial proceedings as both disappeared.

Similarly, a doctor in Clifton, who would treat patients in a "new way" and whose clinic was always flooded by patients, was also summoned for inquiry as he also had a Axact degree. He first described himself as a resident of Lahore and submitted his Lahore identity card. The investigators smelled foul play as the feigned doctor's accent gave away that he was a Pushtoon. When this doctor was investigated he confessed that he was an Afghan national and had got his identity card made from Lahore after paying money.

Despite collection so many witnesses and evidences, the flawed persual of the case has rendered it fit for quashment hearings.


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