BOPEE scam ‘kingpin’ Mushtaq Peer gets conditional bail on `50 lakh bonds

After two and half years behind bars, Peer asked not to leave Srinagar sans trial court’s permission

SRINAGAR: The J&K High Court on Tuesday granted conditional bail in lieu of two surety bonds of Rs 50 lakh each to Mushtaq Ahmad Peer, the former chairman of the Board of Professional Entrance Examination (BOPEE) who allegedly engineered the common Entrance Test (CET) 2012 scam.
Peer was arrested on 23 November 2014 by the crime branch after investigation revealed that he had sold the CET-2012 papers along with answer keys for Rs 60 lakhs.
“Applicant (Mushtaq Ahmad Peer) be released on bail on his furnishing two surety bonds, each in a sum of Rs 50 lakhs to the satisfaction of the Special Judge Anticorruption Kashmir, Srinagar and personal bond in the identical amount to the satisfaction of the Superintendent Jail concerned,” a single bench of Justice Tashi Rabstan said and imposed many as six conditions on Peer.
“(He) shall not directly or indirectly make any inducement, threat or promise to any person acquainted with the facts of the case so as to dissuade him to disclose such facts to the court or to any other authority”.
As per second condition, the court said that Peer shall not do anything directly or indirectly to influence the witnesses for the prosecution nor to tamper with the evidence to be adduced against him.
He shall remain present before the court on the dates fixed for hearing of the case and for any reason due to unavoidable circumstances for remaining absent, he has to give intimation to the court and make a proper application for permission to be present through counsel, the court said in the third condition.
The court also asked to surrender his passport, if not already surrendered, before the Special Judge, Anticorruption within a week.
If he does not possess the passport or has already surrendered it, he shall file an affidavit before the Special Judge Anticorruption in this regard, the court said in the penultimate condition.
“The applicant shall stay at Srinagar. He shall not leave the District Srinagar without prior permission of this Court or the court of Special Judge Anticorruption,” the court said and granted liberty to the crime branch to make an appropriate application for modification or recalling of the present order, if the applicant violates any of the conditions imposed by on him.
The trial in the case is at the advanced stage and the special judge anti-corruption is likely to conclude it in next few months.
Peer was chargeshteed along with 63 other persons in the case (FIR 24/2013 Under Section 420, 120B RPC, 5(2)d r/w (5(2) PC Act) registered at Police Station Crime Branch. Among them include 29 beneficiary students, 24 parents besides the brokers.
In its objections to the bail plea, the government insisted that he was sole custodian and trustee of the question papers for CET-2012. It said that he was found to have abused his official position by making sale of question papers alongwith answer key prior to conduct of examination and conferred undue benefit upon the beneficiaries, resulting in selection of undeserving candidates for MBBS. Forty Seven witnesses have been examined and that the evidence recorded has substantiated and established that he has dishonestly and by abuse of official position handed over the question papers to the beneficiaries, the government said.
The high court and the trail court had earlier rejected several bail applications by Peer given the gravity and seriousness of offence committed by him. He had withdrawn appeal before Supreme Court against the rejection of his application by the high court last year. Peer was represented by senior counsel and former president of Kashmir High Court Bar Association Z. A. Qureshi.