Srinagar: The J&K High Court on Wednesday closed a public interest litigation taken up by it suo motu in 2013 and directed the Special Anti-Corruption court here to conclude the trial regarding the Common Entrance Test (CET) 2012 scam allegedly engineered by former Chairman of the Board of Professional Entrance Examination (BOPEE) Mushtaq Ahmad Peer, by the end of February next year.
Disposing of the PIL, a division bench of Chief Justice N Paul Vasanthakumar and Justice Hasnain Masoodi also accepted a closure report by the crime branch into the BOPEE-conducted CET for 2009, 2010 and 2011 respectively. “No further directions are required to be issued in this PIL and (it) stands disposed of,” the bench said.
The PIL was initiated by the court following a letter by one of its sitting judges, Justice Muzaffar Hussain Attar, to the Chief Justice, pointing out the cancellation of Physics and Mathematics papers CET- 2013 was on account of leakage of question papers due to the fault committed by BOPEE.
The scope of the PIL was enlarged regarding the conduct of CET examinations for earlier academic years. After receiving notice from the High Court, the crime branch Kashmir registered an FIR (no. 24/2013) and conducted an investigation, which led to unearthing of what is commonly referred as ‘CET-2012 scam’. The crime branch has filed a chargesheet against more than 50 persons, including 29 alleged beneficiaries and 6 brokers besides Mushtaq Ahmad Peer, who continues to be behind bars since his arrest in November 2013.
Coincidently, when the court heard the PIL, the bail application filed by Peer also came up for hearing. The court, while dismissing Peer’s plea, directed the Special Judge Anti-Corruption, Srinagar, to dispose of the criminal challan on a day-to-day basis and conclude it by the end of February 2016. According to the Additional Advocate General BA Dar, out of 78 witnesses, six have already been examined by the trial court.
The bench also announced that it was satisfied with the closure report by the crime branch on the CET examination conducted by BOPEE for 2009, 2010 and 2011. “After thorough investigation, no malpractice could be noticed by the investigation agency,” the court observed after going through a status report filed by the Inspector General of Police, Crime Branch.
It the report, the IGP explained the manner in which the investigation was conducted and how the crime branch reached the conclusion to close the investigation. The officer said that after obtaining details from concerned medical colleges, certificates of all the candidates were examined and random samples were taken for in-depth verification in all the three years.
During investigation, the crime branch found that even average merit candidates in 12th class qualified the examination in their 2nd, 3rd or 4th attempt. Some of the candidates were selected in earlier CETs, but left those streams and attended the subsequent CET to get admission in the courses of their choice.
“The candidates have also performed satisfactorily in the MBBS course and those admitted in the 2009 batch have passed out and only four students have a backlog of papers. Three out of four are from the reserved categories while from those of the 2011 batch, all are in the pre-final year,” the crime branch report said.
The crime branch also stated that in 2009 to 2011, entrance papers were not set under the control of single person, as was the case during CET-2012 examination. “The Controller of Examination was also involved in the process of examination and the Controller of Examinations of BOPEE, Dr Gopal Gupta was examined; and he superannuated in February, 2012, after handing over charge to Mushtaq Ahmad Peer.”