Srinagar: Farooq Ahmad Itoo, who has been named ‘kingpin’ of the multi-crore cash-for-paper scam in Common Entrance Test 2012, has told court that he deeply regretted his wrongdoings.
In his deposition before the court of Sub-Registrar Srinagar, Itoo, 42, prayed court to “punish me” for the offence, which according to the Crime Branch of police derives genesis from the obsession of parents to see their wards getting selected for professional courses like MBBS ‘at any cost’ to satisfy societal urge of feeling distinguished.
“I am recording statement out of my free will,” Itoo had told the court while deposing under section 164 CrPC.
When asked by the court whether he knows that his deposition will be used as evidence against him, Itoo replied in affirmative. “Yes. I’m very much aware, and I should be punished, because ever since I committed the wrong, my son is ailing and hitherto incurable.”
Asked what he wants to be recorded in the court, Itoo vent everything which, as per Crime Branch, led it to unveiling of the “maga scandal” of Board of Professional Entrance Examinations (BOPEE).
Itoo said: “I’m running a computer centre, ‘infotect’ on national highway at Bijbehara and had applied for its registration with NCPUL, New Delhi in 2001. Mushtaq Ahmad Peer (who was then working as Head of the Department of Computer Sciences at University Kashmir), had been instructed by the concerned authority (NCPUL) to have an on spot inspection of the institute for granting registration or otherwise. He visited my institute when I was outside and had carried out the inspection by interacting with my staff.”
“Later, I went to New Delhi to know status of my centre’s registration and was told at NCPUL to wait for six months as process for required documentations had been started following the report from Peer. After almost six months, NCPUL people informed me about granting of the registration,” he added.
“On coming to know about the NCPUL decision, I went to the office of Mushtaq Peer at Kashmir University and introduced myself to him,” Itoo said, as was read out by advocate Moulvi Aijaz during arguments of his client—Mustaq Peer’s bail plea before the Special Anti-Corruption Judge Kashmir M L Manhas this weekend. Advocate Aijaz was making a point that Peer had submitted report to NCPUL before meeting Itoo.
Subsequently, Itoo is said to have started visiting Peer, the former chairman of BOPEE who has been named as prime accused in the scam, often with gifts and freebies.
“Later when Mushtaq Peer was appointed chairman BOPEE, one of my friends Bashir Ahmad, asked me to accompany him to visit Peer to have his son selected in the MBBS. I was told (by Peer) that this is not an easy task but wait for some time.”
“…later when I met him (Peer) in this connection, he asked me to arrange three candidates and collect Rs 20 lakhs each from them in return of CET papers in advance a day before the scheduled examination.”
“I lured eight candidates as the money could not be arranged from three candidates,” Itoo said, revealing details of the candidates as well as money received by him. The details have been already reported by Kashmir Reader (in November 30, 2013 issue).
Subsequent, the Crime Branch, after partly completing its investigation, filed chargesheet against Peer, Itoo and 23 others including nine parents and 12 beneficiary students under section 173 CrPC in case FIR no. 24/2013 of Police Station Crime Branch u/s 5(1) (d) read with PC Act and sections 406, 201, 420, 120-B RPC.