Srinagar: The J&K High Court Wednesday rejected bail plea by former chairman of Board of Professional Entrance Examinations (BOPEE), Mushtaq Ahmad Peer, named as prime accused by Crime Branch of police in infamous cash-for-paper scam involving selling of Common Entrance Test papers before the scheduled examination in 2012.
The court also rejected the bail plea of 13 others.
While denying any relief to the 64-year-old, a division bench headed by Chief Justice M M Kumar said that the fraud alleged to be committed by Peer has damaged societal interest.
“Allegedly lakhs of rupees have changed hands which facilitated the fraudulent selection of number of candidates pursuing the course of MBBS, BDS, etc. The merit has become causality,” said the bench, also comprising Justice Mohammad Yaqoob Mir.
With the exposure of the fraud, the court observed that the aspiring candidates got disheartened and that it will take time to repair loss and restore faith in CET.
“The magnitude of the fraud committed can be gauged from other angle i-e money power will have preference over all other. The merit, hard work, genuine hope, expectations and fair selection have become casualty.”
The observations, court said, are simply to highlight as what is the heinous of the crime allegedly committed by Peer and “to show how societal interests are damaged.”
“The investigating agency is still investigating the involvement of other conspirators and therefore at this stage grant of bail shall be detrimental to further investigation of the case regarding other conspirators,” the bench said, observing that Peer does not deserves any concession of bail at this stage.
However, the court directed that concerned jail authorities shall take all steps to ensure that the Peer is given proper medical aid in case he is suffering from any ailment.
Peer, who is in jail since November 23 last, was denied concession of bail by Special Judge Anti-Corruption Kashmir, twice since his arrest and as such he had moved High Court for the relief.
While rejecting his bail, the Session’s court had said that ‘like Caesar’s wife, he was required to be above suspicion and must have discharged his duties honesty as chief of the BOPEE.’
“Peer was holding office of chairman BOPEE for selecting meritorious MBBS students as ‘office of public trust,’ and was required to exhibit himself to be a person of impeccable integrity, unimpeachable character, honest to the core with the high moral values,” the court had said.
Peer has been indicted for the commission of crime (FIR no. 24/2013 u/ s 5(1) (d) r/w 5(2) PC Act & 420, 120 –b of RPC) where he along with other co-accused have indulged in mega scandal sale of question papers.