Sindh High Court has granted bail to Axact CEO Shoaib Shaikh, Dawn reported. The news comes after he spent 15 months in custody. Along with Mr. Shaikh, 13 other individuals embroiled in the fake degree scam have been granted bail.
The bail was approved by a Sindh Judge against a surety bond of Rs. 500,000 each after hearing arguments from both parties.
During the hearing, Shaukat Hayat, a lawyer for Axact, strongly argued that the prosecution and the FIA had been using delaying tactics. He went on to say that the accused were entitled to a bail since they have no criminal record. He also pointed out that no evidence has been brought up against the accused despite a passage of 15 months.
Axact, a Pakistani Software Company, was caught up in the biggest international degree scam last May after the New York Times published a ruthless expose on their undercover, questionable activities. The report alleged that Axact generates tens of millions of dollars in revenue through selling fake academic degrees via 370 websites which portray to be an American educational institute.
However, at the time, Axact dismissed the claims made by the New York Times as completely “baseless, substandard, maligning, defamatory and based on false accusations and merely a figment of imagination”. They even threatened to pursue legal action against the involved parties.
However, before they were able to do anything, Interior Minister urged the FIA to look into the Axact fiasco, and soon enough Axact offices in Karachi and Islamabad were raided on orders of Chaudhary Nisar Ali Khan. Following that, several Axact employees spoke in favor of the NYT articles saying that the company was indeed involved in questionable activities. In less than a month, the whole scandal unfolded and Shoaib Shaikh was arrested along with a case filed against the organization and their operations were seized. Several employees also agreed to testify against their disgraced boss.