Judge’s corruption in Axact case: IHC reserves verdict on admissibility of plea against charges

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ADSJ had allege­dly admitt­ed before the IHC that he receiv­ed Rs5m to acquit Bol TV CEO

PHOTO: THE NEW YORK TIMES

PHOTO: THE NEW YORK TIMES

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday reserved its verdict on maintainability of a petition filed by a judge against the allegations that he received illegal gratification to acquit the Bol TV CEO and many others in the Axact fake degree scandal.

Justice Aamer Farooq reserved the verdict on the petition of Additional District and Sessions Judge (ADSJ) Pervez-ul-Qadir Memon, assailing the accusations and the consequent suspension.

It emerged on June 15 that the ADSJ had allegedly admitted before the IHC that he received Rs5 million to acquit Bol TV CEO Shoaib Ahmed Shaikh in the Axact case.

IHC’s show-cause notice issued to the judge read that he “committed an act of corruption by receiving illegal gratification to the tune of Rs5 million for acquittal of accused [Shoaib Ahmed Sheikh] through judgment dated October 31, 2016.”

Axact fake degree case: Judge confesses to receiving Rs5m bribe to acquit Shoaib Shaikh

“You admitted the above stated act of corruption before the Departmental Promotion Committee (DPC) comprising Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani,” read an office order of the IHC issued on June 9.

The judge challenged the decision through his counsel Hafiz Arfat Ahmed, saying a DPC of the IHC raised serious allegations against him and attributed an admission to him.

In addition, the counsel said, the DPC had directed him to submit a written reply within 14 days as to why major penalty of removal from service might not be imposed upon him.

In April, Ahmed said, a DPC meeting was held and to the utter shock of the petitioner, two junior judicial officers were promoted. But before he could move a departmental representation against non-consideration, he said, he received an explanation from the IHC registrar.

Axact executive pleads guilty to fraud charges in American court

Ahmed said the IHC’s explanation letter disclosed that his client was not considered as he was “reportedly involved in corrupt practice in the case of ‘Axact’ decided by him and also in some other matters related to land grabbers,” adding that “These issues require further consideration.”

Ahmed said that the petitioner submitted his reply wherein he vehemently refuted the two allegations levelled against him. He added that the reply was supported by an affidavit of the petitioner.

The acquittal was not the result of summary proceedings as there was a full-fledged trial of the accused persons, he argued, adding that the evidence brought on record by the prosecution could not have been made basis for the conviction of the accused persons involved in the case.

“The petitioner pleaded his innocence before the members of the committee,” he stated in the petition.

Nisar to formulate prosecution committee to probe Axact scandal

Ahmed said the ADSJ had apprised the committee that he had conducted thousands of cases, including some very high-profile ones; and during his long career, not even a single complaint had ever been lodged against him, and his entire career was spotless.

The counsel said that the petitioner landed in the emergency of PIMS hospital as he was a chronic patient of heart disease and could not sustain the shock, adding that he filed an application seeking 30 days medical leave with permission to leave the headquarter.

The said application witnessed no progress till date, he said. Also, the IHC registrar had raised allegation in the notice but did not annex any material in support thereof, he added.

The judge has prayed to the court to set aside the office order and the show-cause notice for being illegal. He further prayed that the respondents be directed to immediately process the leave request and allow the petitioner to travel to Karachi for his treatment in the presence of his dear-ones.

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The court is expected to announce a decision on Monday.

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