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ISLAMABAD: The federal government wanted a de novo trial of Axact chief executive officer Shoaib Ahmed Shaikh and other members of the company in the fake degree case.

This was stated by Deputy Attorney General (DAG) Raja Khalid Mehmood Khan during the hearing of the appeal filed by Federal Inv­es­tigation Agency (FIA) against the acquittal of Mr Shaikh before a division bench of the Islam­abad High Court (IHC) headed by Justice Athar Minallah.

When the bench resumed the hearing of the FIA’s appeal on Tuesday, the DAG requested the court to remand this case back for a re-trial.

He said additional district and sessions judge (ADSJ) Pervaizul Qadir Memon had confessed before two judges of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) to have taken bribe from Mr Shaikh for acquitting him in the fake degree case.

Deputy attorney general requests IHC bench to remand the case back for re-trial

It may be mentioned that the IHC administration has completed the enquiry against ADSJ Memon and referred the matter to the administrative committee.

Mr Memon has confessed of receiving Rs15million bribe for acquitting Mr Shaikh and many other employees of his company.

The Axact case came into spotlight in May 2015 when the New York Times published a report claiming that the company had sold fake diplomas and degrees online through hundreds of fictitious schools.

FIA officials raided the office of Axact located in DHA Islamabad on May 19, 2015 after the fake degrees scam was highlighted by local media.

Axact’s directors were facing a similar case in Karachi and remained behind the bar for a few months, however, the Sindh High Court (SHC) in August last year granted them post-arrest bail.

The issue of taking bribe surfaced after ADSJ Memon challenged the departmental disciplinary proceedings in the IHC.

ADSJ Memon learned about the allegations while he was gearing to challenge a departmental promotion committee’s (DPC) decision not to promote him to district and sessions judge. When he filed a representation against the DPC, the IHC registrar issued him a show-cause notice asking him to explain the acquittal of the owners and directors of Axact, as well as in cases pertaining to land grabbers.

The IHC bench issued notices to all the accused persons, including Mr Shaikh, and adjourned the hearing till Feb 22.

Published in Dawn, February 14th, 2018