FIA says no crime committed by Axact; Why not acquittal then? Who is behind the conspiracies against Axact?

FIA says no crime committed by Axact; Why not acquittal then? Who is behind the conspiracies against Axact?

FIA says no crime committed by Axact; Why not acquittal then? Who is behind the conspiracies against Axact?
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  • Fake cases against Axact management drag on
  • Shoaib Shaikh urges SC to find out why his company being targeted

BOL News Co-chairman Shoaib Ahmed Shaikh has urged the Supreme Court of Pakistan to take notice of the continued targeting of his IT company Axact in fake cases and the victimization of its senior management, including himself, since they ventured into the media industry in 2015.

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“I urge the Supreme Court of Pakistan to find out who is behind the conspiracies against Axact and why I am not being acquitted in the false cases even after being proven that no crime has been committed,” he said while talking to veteran journalist Sami Ibrahim in his Bol News programme ‘Tajzia’.

Shoaib Shaikh, who remained incarcerated at the Karachi Central Prison for 18 long months in bailable cases, said that a flimsy case of cheating was filed against Axact on the basis of a malicious news report carried by The New York Times, but no individual from across the world came forward to claim being defrauded by the IT company.

He said that the FIA was the complainant and plaintiff in the case against Axact. However, years later, the investigating officer (IO) working on the case admitted before the court that all activities of the company were legal, Shaikh said.

“The FIA admitted that all the activities of Axact were legal, it possessed all licenses, and was registered with the Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB).” He said that the FIA also confirmed that Axact brought all the money from abroad to Pakistan through legal channels as per the official record of the State Bank of Pakistan.

“Despite the fact that no crime has been committed as admitted by the FIA, the case is still going on against me under a well-thought-out conspiracy hatched by the owners of the rival media channels.”

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He said that the FIA official submitted a report in the Supreme Court, admitting that the case was filed against Axact as part of a conspiracy, linked to a channel owner.

He said that the then Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar also admitted that some media owners had approached him after which action was taken against Axact.

“Just on a defamatory New York Times story, a crackdown was launched against Axact and its management…All our bank accounts were frozen and vehicles impounded,” he said.

Shoaib Shaikh said that the purpose of this conspiracy was to prevent the launch of BOL News. “By targeting Axact, they wanted to hit BOL News,” he added.

Shoaib Shaikh asked who is pushing the case against him when the investigating agency admitted that no illegal work has been done. “Who is obstructing our acquittal and closure of the case? This is nothing but victimization.”

He said quick closure of fake and flimsy cases remain a must to reduce the burden on the courts. “The Supreme Court of Pakistan must set an example by punishing those who pursue fake cases.”

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Case Against Axact

The case was filed in 2015 under Sections 420, 468, 471, 472, 473, 474, 477-A, 109 and 34 of Pakistan Penal Code, Section 36 and 37 of the Electronic Transaction Ordinance, and Section 3 and 4 of the Anti-Money Laundering Act 2010.

The case against Axact and its management was registered by the FIA Corporate Crime Circle through Assistant Director Saeed Ahmed Memon. Two similar FIRs were filed against Axact in Karachi and Islamabad, which is unprecedented and unlawful.

The New York Times published an article against the company in May 2015, accusing it of running a racket of fake degrees. Journalist Declan Walsh, who wrote the article, had been declared persona non grata two years earlier and expelled from the country for suspicious activities

Shoaib Shaikh and Axact management were framed in a bogus case as all its operations remain legal and activities were being carried out under the license issued by the competent authorities. The FIA was the plaintiff and the complainant in the case.

During the trial, the investigation officer testified that neither any complaint was received by the FIA against Axact or its management before The New York Times carried this article, nor after its publication.

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The then Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan had admitted that the action against Axact was carried out following the pressure by some members of the Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA).

The IO said he did not receive any complaint against Axact from anyone across the world. He testified that the FIA has also not received any complaint from any organization or government department against Axact.

The State Bank of Pakistan also did not receive any complaint against Axact regarding suspicious transactions. Shoaib Shaikh said the allegations against Axact were meant to damage the company and taint the image of its management.

A forensic expert clearly stated during the testimony that services provided by Axact were legal and payments, received in Dubai, were transferred to Pakistan through proper channels of the SBP, he said.

Acquittal plea

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Based on these testimonies, Shoaib Shaikh filed an acquittal plea, which is not being heard. Additional District & Sessions Judge Ihsan A. Malik thrice rejected the application and summoned all witnesses on a single day.

The judge cited a letter by Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial for not hearing the acquittal plea. It has not been proved whether the letter was received. This also raises questions whether the case should be heard despite the statements of the complainant and the investigating officer.

The testimonies exonerating Axact from any wrongdoing came after years of witch-hunting and victimization of its top management. Legal experts said those behind the conspiracy against Axact should be exposed and cases should be lodged against them.

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