'Sale of Pakistan MBBS Seats': SIA Charges 9 People in Kashmir

Representational Photo

Says Funds Were Used To Fuel Unrest After Burhan’s Killing, Special Status Revocation

Srinagar- The newly formed Special Investigation Agency (SIA) of Police on Thursday filed its first charge sheet against nine people, including Hurriyat leader Zaffar Akbar Bhat for allegedly selling medical seats in Pakistan to Kashmiri students and using the money to fund militancy in Jammu and Kashmir.

The case was registered in July last year by the Counter Intelligence wing of Kashmir police on the basis of information through “reliable sources” that several persons including some Hurriyat leaders were hand in glove with some educational consultancies and were selling Pakistan-based MBBS and seats in other professional courses in various colleges and universities, a police spokesperson said Thursday.

Besides Mohammad Akbar Bhat alias Zaffar Akbar Bhat, Chairman of Salvation Movement, others named in the case include Fatima Shah, Altaf Ahmad Bhat, former Mirwaiz south Kashmir, Qazi Yasir, Mohammad Abdullah Shah, Sabzar Ahmad Sheikh, Manzoor Ahmad Shah, Mohd Iqbal Mir of Mahaz Azadi Front.

While five persons, including Zaffar Akbar Bhat have been arrested, three others, including two in Pakistan, are either absconding or evading their arrest, the spokesperson said.

He said that the charge sheet U/S 173 CrPc in Case FIR No. 05/2020 U/S 13, 17, 18, 40, ULP Act, 420 IPC of PS CIK Srinagar has been produced before the Court of Special Judge Designated Court under NIA Act Srinagar.

Also, he said, that challan was produced against three others in terms of section 299 Cr.P.C to declare them absconders while as the investigation with regard to the other aspects of the investigation/suspects (Co Conspirators) is in progress and the facts will be presented the Court through a supplementary charge sheet.

Giving details of the case, the police spokesperson said that the information on the basis of which criminal investigations were started into the matter also suggested that the money collected from the parents of the aspiring or potential students was used, at least partly, to support and fund militancy and separatism in different ways.

“During investigation oral, documentary and technical evidences were collected and on analysis of collected evidences it surfaced that MBBS and other professional degree related seats were preferentially given to those students who are close family members or relatives of killed terrorists,” he said.

“Evidence also came on record to show that money had been variously put into channels that ended up in supporting programmes and projects pertaining to terrorism and separatism,” he added.

Giving an example, the police spokesperson said that money collected in disguise of providing medical and other technical courses in various institutions of Pakistan were used to fuel up the unrest post killing of militants, including Burhan Wani in 2016 and every effort was made to disturb the peace and tranquillity post abrogation of article 35A and 370 of Indian Constitution.

He said that the examination of witnesses corroborated by other circumstantial evidence indicated that many families who approached Hurriyat leaders to avail the programme of Hurriyat on the behest of ISI that aimed at “incentivising terrorism” by compensating the family of slain militants by way of providing free of cost MBBS and engineering seats as monetary consideration.

The police spokesperson also hit out at Pakistan saying that by incentivizing the next of kin of killed militants, Pakistan was trying to keep the pot boiling and tends to radicalize the impressionable minds in the veil of technical education.

“As per investigation, on an average the cost of a seat ranged between 10 to 12 lakhs and depending upon the political heft of a Hurriyat leader who intervenes, concessions were extended to the aspiring student and his family,” he said.

On the basis of available evidence, he said, a conservative estimate indicated that the money involved could be around Rs.4 crore per annum, on the basis of the fact that allocation of seats for distribution by individual Hurriyat leaders where around 40 seats for MBBS programme every year.

“The historical bonhomie between Hurriyat leaders and their masters in Pakistan has been again exposed through the investigations and has exposed their nefarious designs once more of being hand in glove with the terrorists based in Kashmir valley and Pakistan and the undercurrents of their close knit relationship is only to destabilize the UT of J&K and Union of India,” the police spokesperson said.

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