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August 18, 2019

SHC dismisses bail plea of MUET official in cyber crime case

Karachi

August 18, 2019

The Sindh High Court has dismissed a bail before arrest application filed by the deputy director of the Mehran University of Engineering and Technology in a cyber crime case.

Kashif Dars, a deputy director of financial aid of the MUET, was booked by the Federal Investigation Agency for uploading defamatory and objectionable photos of university staff on social media.

According to the prosecution case, the FIA cyber crime circle Karachi had conducted an inquiry and it was transpired that objectionable edited images of the complainant and other faculty members as well as defamatory descriptions posted with some images were found in the mobile phone operated by the applicant.

The applicant’s counsel has challenged the cancellation of bail order against the applicant by the district and sessions court of Malir and sought bail before arrest for his client.

The applicant’s counsel submitted that the applicant’s bail had been cancelled by the district and sessions judge and he apprehended his arrest under sections 16, 20 and 21 of the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act 2016 read with sections 49, 420 and 109 of the Pakistan Penal Code registered at the FIA Cyber Crime Reporting Centre Karachi Police Station. He requested the court to set aside the sessions court order and grant bail to the applicant.

A single bench, headed by Justice Nazar Akbar, after hearing the arguments of the case, observed that the applicant cannot allege mala fide in connecting him with the crime as the complainant was not aware of the applicant; instead, he had only noticed certain fake pages on the Internet and social media carrying objectionable material and he had reported the matter to the FIA to identify the persons involved in the crime.

The court observed that it was during the inquiry that the FIA official by application of different techniques through social engineering reached the applicant through the cellphone number that had been used to post objectionable material on a social media website.

The court observed that refusal of police remand by the judicial magistrate to the applicant and granting him bail means the prosecution was denied an opportunity of proper investigation and in view of the above facts and circumstances the sessions judge rightly cancelled the bail granted to the applicant with the observation that the bail order was factually incorrect and erroneous and resulted in miscarriage of justice.

The court observed that in these circumstances at least no case for bail before arrest was made out and dismissed the bail application.

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