ISLAMABAD: The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on Friday arrested anchorperson Dr Shahid Masood after the Islamabad High Court dismissed his pre-arrest bail petition in a PTV corruption case.

Last month, Dr Masood dodged the FIA as he escaped well before the special judge dismissed his pre-arrest bail plea.

According to the FIA, Dr Masood — during his tenure as managing director and chairman of PTV — was involved in the embezzlement of Rs37 million in acquiring Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) media rights in 2008. Allegedly, the agreement was carried out with a fake company — M/s International Sports Solution (ISS). The investigators claim that funds were also released, causing the loss of millions of dollars to PTV as the state-run television channel failed to acquire PCB media rights from 2008 to 2013.

His pre-arrest bail petition was dismissed in PTV embezzlement case

On Friday, PTV’s counsel Nazir Jawad told the court that Dr Masood awarded the contract to the company that dealt with catering services, and that it opened the bank account on a fake computerised national identity card, a day earlier than submitting the bid. He said that the co-accused, Kashif Rabbani, had in this case already returned Rs13 million and added that the remaining amount might be recovered from Dr Masood.

According to the prosecution, on the complaint of PTV controller-administration Mohammad Pervaiz against Kashif Rabbani, the former marketing manager, the FIR was registered in this case.

The prosecution said that PTV negotiated with the PCB for media rights for its network for Rs30 million to M/s ISS and Rs7 million was paid to M/s Deans Creation Lahore for acquiring media rights of the UAE cricket series for the years 2008-2011 for PTV.

During the hearing, Shah Khawar, the counsel for Dr Masood, told the court that his client had criticised government policies and had resultantly been dragged into this case. He added that being PTV MD, Dr Masood signed the document after it was duly vetted by the legal adviser of the channel.

After concluding the hearing, Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani of the IHC dismissed the petition.

Dr Masood was present in the court and, after the dismissal of his petition, asked his counsel what he was supposed to do. His counsel advised him to go along with the FIA official.

Investigation officer Kashif Awan arrested Dr Masood from the IHC and shifted him to the FIA station. The FIA is required to produce the anchorperson before a court on Saturday (today) to obtain his physical remand.

Published in Dawn, November 24th, 2018