Srinagar: The J&K High Court Wednesday came down heavily on Crime Branch for police for its failure to arrest 15 absconders, even as it directed Inspector General of Police (CBK) to supervise investigation carried by its subordinates into the multi-crore cash-for-paper scam allegedly engineered by former incarcerated chairman of BOPEE Mushtaq Ahmad Peer.
Hearing a suo-moto PIL, a Division Bench of Chief Justice M M Kumar and Justice Hasnain Massodi passed the directions after finding little progress into the arrest of 15 absconders (majors) by the Crime Branch.
“Out of 51 accused, 17 accused are found absconding. From May 23 till date, only two accused have been arrested and 15 of them are still large,” the court observed after perusal of the status report by the Crime Branch.
Two accused absconders who were arrested include Mohammad Altaf Shah (Wild Life Warden) of Kishtwar and Mushtaq Ahmad Dar (AEE).
Advocate General M I Qadri, representing the Crime Branch, informed the court that property of some of the accused has been attached.
“When as sample, we examine the attachment order of the property pertaining to Mushtaq Ahmad Kinoo, the attachment order shows that some land belonging to (him) has been attached. He is a known businessman and nothing has been pointed out with regard to his business concern or his bank account. We presume that similar situation must be prevailing in other cases,” the court said.
On the last date of hearing, court said, detailed directions were passed, bringing to the notice of investigating officers various mechanism available in criminal procedure code which could have been used for ensuring the arrest of any absconding accused.
“However, apart from attachment, no other mechanism has been used. Why it has happen cannot be left to the imagination because it appears that out of 51, the 15 who are still at large must be wielding some type of influence,” the court said and accepted suggestion by amicus curie in the case that IGP Crime Branch should be asked to exercise overall supervision so that any extraneous influence in execution of arrest warrants was effectively checked.
“We order accordingly. The progress report in that regard be filed within two weeks,” the court said.
In another direction, the court also directed Board of Professional Entrance Examination (BOPEE) to file status report within two weeks about the action taken against four more beneficiaries of the scam whose particulars have been forward to it by the Crime Branch.
So far, Crime Branch has indicted 29 students who were found to have benefitted by acquiring the CET-2012 question papers in advance. Out of them, admission of 25 candidates has already cancelled by the BOPEE.
“We are examining the documents and pass orders accordingly in respect of remaining four candidates,” Advocate G A Lone, the counsel for BOPEE, said.
The four students, one of them a minor, are being charge-sheeted along with six other accused including a broker, and with the filing of the supplementary chargesheet, the investigation with respect to CET 2012 will conclude, the Crime Branch said.
“Only one of them, Suhail Ahmad Wani, who is a broker has been arrested and the others being parents and students have not been so far arrested. One of the parents is a ReT teacher Mohammad Amin, and the status report regarding him shall also been filed,” the court said.
Previously, as per the Crime Branch, three charge-sheets were presented before the Anti-Corruption Court here against 43 accused (majors) while as many charge sheets were presented against eight minors before CJM Srinagar, making total number of accused as 51.
Out of these 51, there are six brokers, 20 are parents, 25 candidates. Among the 43 majors who stand charge-sheeted, 28 are behind bars and 15 of them are evading arrest; they include one broker, three parents and 11 students, four among them females.
The court also granted two weeks to the BOPEE and state government for filing reply to a writ petition filed by ten candidates, challenging cancellation of their admission.
The court also allowed submission by Advocate General regarding submitting of status report regarding disciplinary action government employees found to be involved in the fraud by the Crime Branch.