4 Pakistani entrepreneurs arrested for allegedly stealing code worth Rs. 14 million

Due to copyrights infringement and intellectual property rights, four IBA students-cum-entrepreneurs have been put behind the bars in a very rare case, according to media reports in Pakistan.

The budding entrepreneurs launched a financial portal titled ‘Investors Lounge’ for investors to see updated financial data on things like stocks, mutual funds, and commodities. For the same, they were also able to secure its first round of funding from Arpatech Ventures.

The startup was successfully incubated at Google-backed The Nest I/O. The brains behind this project are Baqar Abbas Jafri, Sennen D’Souza, Hammad Ali Hashmi, and Waqar Ehsan, all of who were previously linked with The Nest I/O, a startup incubator based in Karachi which has received funding from Google for Entrepreneurs, Samsung, and the US State Department.

The complainant, Mir Muhammed Ali Khan, Co-Chairman of AMZ MAK Capital Ltd, alleged that the founders of ‘Investors Lounge’ were its former employees. While working for the company then, they were tasked to develop a social media platform for investors along with 12 other team members. Instead they allegedly stole the source code, worth $140,000 equivalent to 14 million Pakistan rupees, and used it to build an alternative product with slight minor modifications.

The Co-Chairman of AMZ MAK Capital Ltd also alleged Baqar Abbas Jafri for masterminding the overall setup. He stated that:

“After the product was developed, all the above named 4 employees, along with the head of software programing and project head, quit at the same time taking the source code along with them. The mastermind behind this fraud, Baqar Abbas Jafri, re-launched the same website few months later, which was the idea and property of AMZ MAK Capital, by changing a few interfaces while keeping the exact same idea and the source code.”

After becoming aware of the fraud, Mir Muhammed approached the Sind court to prevent the entrepreneurs from running away with the idea. The judge, after hearing the merits of the case, decided to issue arrest warrants of all 4 alleged entrepreneurs.

A formal trial will now be held to decide the outcome of the case.

However, the management of ‘Investors Lounge’ categorically rubbished all the accusations in a press statement which read:

“They created new and original software code for Investors Lounge portal with the assistance of shared content recently purchased from recognized vendors with the specific intention of using such shared content for Investors Lounge only”

‘Investor Lounge’ also denied all the claims and accusations alleged by AMZ MAK Capital Ltd about any intellectual property or software code used in Investors Lounge.

Moreover, the President of P@SHA and the Head of The Nest I/O, Jehan Ara, was particularly heartbroken at the allegations on the founders she also knew. In a statement, she was quoted as saying:

“This is a false accusation. I know these youngsters personally and the product was created from scratch. It is heartbreaking and totally unjust that these young entrepreneurs who have struggled so much and worked so hard to get to this stage should be put through this. I stand by them.”

One of the readers, on a startup group, made a statement in favor of 4 accused entrepreneurs on Facebook. Saad Wahab Siddiqui stated that:

“False allegations. Know these boys really well. FIR had been lodged against them in April and Baqar got arrested on Monday. The way he got arrested is also very interesting. However, the boys have gotten their bail from the Hon’ble court today.”

Benefit of doubt should be given to 4 accused individuals namely Baqar Abbas Jafri, Sennen D’Souza, Hammad Ali Hashmi, and Waqar Ehsan. There is no concrete evidence against them and that all of them are innocent until proven guilty.

Disclaimer: The news was originally broken by ProPakistani[dot]pk. I tried to bring the best possible facts and findings from the story after thorough research on Facebook groups about the same. Moreover, the statements from both parties, including Jehan Ara’s, were put to highlight the story in an appropriate manner.

Photo: ALAMY / Telegraph

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