Four accused in Axact fake degree case remanded in FIA custody
By: Zaib Azkaar Hussain
KARACHI: Four accused involved in the Axact fake degree case were remanded to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) for four days on physical remand on Thursday.
Fahad Ansari, MuradAkhtar, Adnan and Vivian produced by the FIA before the Judicial Magistrate (South) stated that as employees of the Axact, they used to act as sales agents of the alleged fraud company.
In order to sell fake degrees, the accused had been using influence and even exploiting the names of diplomats.The court was further informed that the detained accused had been pretending as diplomats and other influential people in order to convince the students to buy fake degrees.
The court remanded the four accused to the FIA for four days on physical remand.It may be mentioned that Judicial Magistrate (South) Noor Muhammad Kalmati has already sent Axact CEO Shoaib Shaikh and his eight accomplices to the Central Prison on judicial remand.
At a previous hearing, the court was informed by the investigators (FIA officials) to adjourn the hearing for the time being as the case was underinvestigation and it was not proper to hear the case now. Upon this, the court had issued orders to produce Shoaib Shaikh, WaqasAteeq, Zeeshan Ahmed Sabir, Zeeshan Anwar, Muhammad Rizwan, Imran Ahmed Khan, AtifHussain and Adnan Saboor on June 13.
However, on June 13 it was declared by the FIA that the Home Department had directed them not to produce the accused before the court as trial against them would be conducted in the prison.
In the case of two of the accused (Zeeshan Anwar and Zeeshan Ahmed), an office of the FIA was declared to be sub-jail, but the court observed that the Sessions Court would decide about the issue of sub-jail and hearing the case in an open court or at a court housed in the prison and not the Home Department.
Earlier, Advocate NaeimQureshi, attorney for the accused, submitted that the accused were sent to the Central Prison on judicial remand, but the FIA took two of the accused from the Central Prison, which was a violation of the court orders.
At a later hearing (on June 13), an incomplete charge sheet was submitted. The court while rejecting the sheet ordered the investigation officer concerned to submit a final charge sheet by the next hearing (in 10 days) instead of three weeks (as the court was requested) and in case of failure, the court would admit the same as the final charge sheet. The court also made it clear that the same charge sheet would be forwarded to the Sessions Court concerned.
Shoaib Shaikh and other under-detention accused were not produced before the court at the last two hearings by the FIA in order to avoid assembly of people claiming to be the representatives of ‘Bol’ TV channel. The FIA counsel had informed the court that startling facts had been unearthed after the decoding of data on the computers seized from the IT firm’s offices in Karachi and Rawalpindi.
According to the decoded data, several offshore companies have been found and several secret accounts discovered. The printing press which produced the degrees has also been seized. Besides, several hard disks have been recovered from the personal residences of some of the suspects.
The attorney for the FIA submitted before the court that an investigation was being carried out on a daily basis. The court allowed the plea of a defence counsel and ordered the authorities concerned to carry out medical examination of suspects before transferring them to the jail.
On June 7, the FIA registered another FIR against Shoaib Shaikh, his wife and VaqasAtiq. The charges, which have also been filed against 17 others, include fraud, fake identification, and money laundering.
A total of 17 directors, managers and operators from the Axact’s Islamabad Region have been arrested. The Axact CEO might be handed over to the FIA Islamabad for holding an interrogation on recent developments as his physical remand period is over now and his custody has been transferred to the prison.