BOPEE Scandal: Shielding the guilty?

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In the ongoing investigations regarding the scandal involving sale of entrance exam papers by Board of Professional Entrance Examinations (BOPEE) chairman Mushtaq Ahmed Pir, some new developments have come to the fore. Enforcement Directorate has confiscated assets worth Rs 60 lakh belonging to Mushtaq Ahmad Pir, the former Chairman Board of Professional Entrance Examination (BOPEE) who is also the main accused in this case. The assets that have been attached by the ED include various immovable properties Sidhra and Wazarat Road Jammu and one property in Delhi.

Besides, attaching immovable property of the tainted official, Enforcement Directorate has also seized his bank accounts and the cash up to the tune of Rs 10 lakh lying with different banks. A bank account belonging to her daughter has also been seized by the Enforcement Directorate. ED official said that Pir had used the bank account of his daughter to transfer the money.

“During investigation it was revealed that the broker Farooq Itoo had earned Rs 73 lakhs from the CET paper selling scam out of which he had paid Rs 60,000 to the Mushtaq Ahmed Pir, said the officials.

On the face of it, these disclosures look very superficial and flimsy. It is well known that this scandal, which came to light in November 2013, was quite big in scale. BOPEE, after facing strong indictment from the High Court had to cancel the admission of the twelve students who according to Crime Branch had purchased Common entrance test questions in 2012.

It will be in place here to mention that when the news about this scandal broke last year, the print media in the valley had widely reported on it and with so much media focus, people had believed that this time there will be no let up in the investigations. Kashmir is notorious for showing leniency to people involved in scandals who most times get away using their political connections.

It looks very strange that one of the brokers, Farooq Itoo, who is allegedly involved in this scandal earned Rs 73 lac, but passed on just Rs 60 thousand to Mr Mushtaq, who is supposed to be the kingpin of this scandal. As Chairman of BOPEE, Mushtaq Pir had enough power to extract his pound of flesh form this scandal and it seems quite natural that among all the people involved in this scandal, he would have been the biggest beneficiary.

These new developments seem to hint at some kind of obfuscation from the reality of this scandal. It seems that this time also, people who are politically well connected are making good use of those connections to let the accused off the hook. This was not only a case of individual corruption, but also of the institutional decay that has been the hallmark of the Kashmiri society, especially in the last two decades. Though common Kashmiris have bore the brunt of this institutional decay, many individuals, in positions of power have benefited from this systemic breakdown. Given the kind of political patronage these people enjoy, it seems matters might be hushed up in this case as well and people of J & K will not be told the truth.

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