KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Monday rejected Axact Chief Executive Officer Shoaib Sheikh's application plea seeking grant of a pre-arrest bail, terming it "meritless".
Sheikh is going to the FIA office to file his written statement, lawyers told media. The Axact CEO appeared before a two-judge bench of the SHC today (May 25) and submitted the application to avoid any possibility of arrest.
His counsel said that there is an apprehension that FIA would arrest his client on the basis of the NYT report despite the fact that no case was registered in Pakistan.
The company, that has pledged to build a media empire, faced tough criticism after The New York Times said it was earning tens of millions of dollars by selling fake degrees.
Read: FIA takes Axact employees into custody, seizes equipment following Nisar’s orders
Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar had taken notice of the NYT report which claimed that Axact ran a fake education empire that involved paid actors promoting fictitious universities and even fake State Department authentication certifications bearing the signature of John Kerry.
The report, which quoted former employees and analysed more than 370 websites of fake universities, accreditation bodies and other purported institutions, sparked a wave of criticism on social media even as the company denied wrongdoing.
As the scandal surrounding Axact’s fake degree empire roiled the country, several senior journalists announced on Saturday that they were leaving the Bol Network, a sister concern of the controversial IT company.
Read: Exodus in the making: Senior journalists quit Bol TV as Axact controversy deepens
Those who quit Bol included the network’s two top executives, Kamran Khan and Azhar Abbas.
“Charges against Axact are far from having been proved in court but my conscience is not letting me continue,” tweeted Bol’s president and editor-in-chief Kamran Khan, who had earlier called on the Supreme Court to form an independent panel of experts to look into the NYTclaims about Axact.
“I have decided to disassociate from Bol immediately,” he continued in his post on the microblogging website.
The government has decided to enlist the help of America’s Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Interpol in investigating the multimillion-dollar fake degrees scam.
Read: FIA inquiry: Govt to enlist help of FBI, Interpol
Speaking at a news conference, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan had said they have found ‘substantive evidence’ on the ‘illegal operations’ of Axact and that the government would soon contact FBI and Interpol. “In light of the developments that have come through in the FIA inquiry, we have decided to write to the FBI within the next two days to ask for legal assistance,” he added.
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