CET paper leak scam: 24 Beneficiaries identified

Crime Branch arrests two accused, hunt on for others

SRINAGAR:  A day after Crime Branch of Jammu and Kashmir Police raided the houses of former chairman of Board of Professional Entrance Examination (BOPEE) Mushtaq Ahmed Peer in Kashmir and Jammu in connection with paper leakage for Common Entrance Test (CET) 2011, the crime branch officials Tuesday said Peer will be questioned in a day or two.

Meanwhile, sleuths of Crime Branch have arrested an accused, Sajid Hussain, while another accused Farooq Ahmed has agreed to become an approver. Crime Branch Officials said that the information provided by the ‘approver’ has proved very useful and so far they have seized important documents pertaining to the case.       

BOPEE had come under scanner as the Common Entrance Test (CET) 2012 results declared that year in June had come as a shock to many with aspirants and parents questioning the very credibility of the BOPEE that conducted the test.

Parents had alleged that the then BOPEE chairman, Mushtaq Ahmed Peer had sold CET papers for a sum of Rs 65 lakh which fetched an amount of Rs 5 crores to brokers ((one arrested and another approver) as they sold those papers to affluent one. There are reports that parents of some aspirants even sold their land to arrange the money.

Sources said that accused in league with BOPEE Chairman and a ‘lady’ had ‘sold’ the entrance examination papers ahead of the examination to dozens of students, majority of them belonging to South Kashmir.

“Their network was very strong. The accused used to call the parents and aspirants to a hotel located somewhere on Boulevard, Dalgate. The irony is that the accused always were accompanied by a team of experts who used to solve the entrance papers,” a Crime Branch official said.

Another Crime Branch official, pleading anonymity said that during the raid on the houses of former BOPEE Chairman at Professor Colony Hazratbal and Sidhra Jammu, the sleuths recovered some important documents.

Confirming the reports, Syed Javed Mujtaba Gilani, the IGP Crime told KNS: “We conducted raids at the residence of Peer Mushtaq in Srinagar and Jammu where we found some incriminating documents. We have seized those documents besides the property papers. The documents will be scrutinized and further action will be taken accordingly.”

Mr Gilani further added that peer will be questioned very soon.   “We are investigating the matter and I think we may question him in a day or two.”

“During the raid we recovered documents pertaining to land comprised of 10 Kanals and 4 marlas in Ganderbal and two flats in Jammu and one flat in New Delhi. We are thoroughly investigating the matter and in near future more arrests are expected,” he said adding that Peer managed to give a slip to the CB sleuths when they raided his Hazratbal residence.

CB official said that the sleuths are looking for other accused which included Haroon Rashid resident of Dayalgam Anantnag and Ali Muhammad Mir of Kennelwan Bijbehara.

“We have registered an FIR vide number 24/2013 and so far we have questioned 15 students and 10 parents and initial investigation has identified at least 24 beneficiaries. 

Incharge Superintendent of Police Crime Branch Bashir Ahmed confirmed  that documents pertaining to land and flats in Ganderbal, Jammu and Delhi belonging to former BOPEE Chairman have been seized by the sleuths of Crime Branch. “We are probing the matter on fast track basis and guilty will not be spared,” he said.

Peer Mushtaq Ahmed himself conceeded that something wrong had happened which is being probed.

Sources said that former BOPEE Chairman has also purchased a huge chunk of land in tourist resort Pahalgam. “We have not fond out yet any documents pertaining to Pahalgam land,” a Crime Branch official said.

The sources also said that the Crime Branch would also look into as to why the term of Mushtaq Ahmed Peer, as  BOPEE  Chairman, was extended. “Without the consent and involvement of higher officials such things can’t happen,” sources in BOPEE said.

Sources in Crime Department say that the owner of a computer institute, Farooq Ahmed Itoo in South Kashmir’s Bijbehara town who is at present acting as an approver and helping CB to nail down all the accused is believed to be the actual broker in this scam. He is also believed to be instrumental in the purchase and sale of the question papers.

Highly placed sources said that Farooq Ahmed Itoo was close to ex-BOPEE chairman and his wife, who was a member of the Service Selection Board. The parents of an unsuccessful candidate revealed that Itoo did all this with the help of his two agents both residents of South Kashmir.

Another broker, Ali Mohammad Rather who is a retired teacher, has supposedly amassed huge wealth. Sources said that this retired teacher from South Kahmir’s Kanilwan area has helped his relatives to qualify the entrance examination.  

Most of the candidates who got benefitted from this question paper leak racket are from South Kashmir and the main kingpin allegedly involved in this scandal also belongs to the same area. Scores of angered candidates are complaining that the entire process of selection was mala fide. “We had openly challenged the genuineness of the merit list,” said one of the angry parents.

The allegations appear to carry weight as that merit list carried names of many with higher ranks whose performance in Matric and +2 examinations has remained unsatisfactory and below par. The aspersions are being cast on many successful candidates belonging to South Kashmir as these candidates are otherwise widely known to be underachievers.

The delegation of aggrieved candidates alleged that one Mir Hina

Saleem from Chee, Ananntnag, under roll no. 123388 getting 36th rank had previously failed even in her secondary school examination as a regular student, subsequently she passed it in third division as a private candidate and later passed her 12th examination in third attempt.

Besides, 4 candidates from and around a single village of  Kanelwan, Bijbehara are among the toppers.

Another ‘successful candidate’ Mir Wajid Majid under roll no. 131184 who secured first rank in CET 2012 is looked upon with suspicion as his sister Mir Danish Majid with 17th rank, his cousin Sadam Farooq from Munghal village of Anantnag ranking 5th is reportedly connected with a network of two more candidates Hovura Zahoor having 111 rank and Sheikh Bargees Ismail having 36th rank are alleged to have also benefitted from the racket.

A male candidate from Damhal, Ahmad Faraz under roll no. 130256 ranks at 30th slot and a female candidate Amira Shakeel from Mahen ranks at 25th under no. 122222 despite the fact that both are career under achievers.  The candidates are demanding that an impartial probe be ordered into the CET 2012 list by the state government.

Pertinently, in 2003 there was a question paper leak in connection with MD entrance test and the BOPEE had cancelled the results after the racket came to light. (CNS)

Honesty pays no dividends in Kashmir: Peer

Former  BOPEE Chairman Mushtaq Ahmad Peer has termed the raids carried out by Crime Branch at his residences in Jammu and Srinagar as ‘unethical’. “I have held a responsible position and am the member of over four national level committees. If there was some allegation, which I am sure is baseless, it was imperative for the crime branch to have my response first before carrying out such raids,” peer told KNS.

The former chairman BOPEE observed that unfortunately there is no appreciation for working with dedication, commitment and honesty in Jammu and Kashmir.  “I had give a system and work culture in BOPEE. There were many attempts to malign my image but with God’s grace, elements inimical to my position and status had to eat a humble pie,” Peer said.

When asked about the documents and other material seized by the Crime Branch, Peer told KNS: “During the raids, the Crime Brach has seized certain files, a laptop, pen drives and cash (1,35000) from my residence. The laptop and pen drives contain some confidential details as I am the member of five national level examination committees. Perhaps they have seized my passport also.”

Peer said that   he has decided to inform the higher ups in the crime branch about the important documents and importance of details contained in the laptop and the pen drives. “It is ironical that the crime branch has not taken any cognizance about the leakage of CET papers of 2013. While as they have acted on a complaint which has no basis. Last year they said that nothing incriminating was found, now they started these raids. I don’t understand this fuss,” the former chairman BOPEE said.

Asked will he cooperate with Crime Branch in its investigations into the matter, Peer said: “Why not. There is no question of noncooperation. When I have mot committed anything wrong, why I should shy away from investigations. I am ready for a thorough probe,” peer said. KNS

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