Axact CEO arrested after SHC approves FIA appeal against his acquittal in ‘Hawala’ case

KARACHI: The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on Monday arrested the Axact Chief Operating Officer (CEO), Shoaib Shaikh, outside the Sindh High Court (SHC) after the court annulled his acquittal from the Sessions Court in ‘Hawala’ case.

A division bench, headed by Justice Naimatullah Phulpoto, was hearing the appeal of FIA that challenged the trial court’s verdict and maintained that the district and sessions court did not follow due procedure while acquitting Shoaib.

Earlier, the district and sessions court had relived the Axact chief from the charges while hearing an application under section 265-K of Criminal Procedure Code.

The FIA prosecutor requested the SHC to order set aside the impugned verdict, contending that there were sufficient evidences against the Axact CEO. The defense counsel, while denying all the charges levelled against Shoaib, requested the court to dismiss the FIA’s appeal.

After hearing the arguments from both sides, the bench accepted the FIA’s appeal and ruled the verdict of the sessions court that acquitted Shoaib as annulled. The SHC also ordered retrial of the case and directed the concerned court to decide the case within three months.

Following the verdict, the Axact CEO tried to escape from the court in his car but he could not do so as the FIA personnel reached to nab him on which he returned to the court premises from where any accused person cannot be arrested as per traditions.

In another bid to avert his arrest, Shoaib’s lawyers filed an application and requested the court to restrain the FIA from arresting him by suspending its own order for three days or grant him protective bail.

Shahab Sarki, who was representing the Axact chief submitted before the court that his client was willing to surrender before the trial court but apprehended that he could be arrested by the FIA.

This application was also turned down by the judges who ruled that the protective bail cannot be granted.

After the dismissal of the bail application, Shoaib came out of the SHC premises where the FIA team was waiting for his return for several hours.

The FIA personnel eventually managed to take the Axact CEO in its custody and shift him to their office.

The ‘Hawala’ case established alongside the main case pertaining to fake degrees. The scandal came to limelight when the New York Times published an investigative report alleging that Axact was involved in selling fake degrees, online.