By Aqib Ahmad
New Delhi: The Supreme Court of India has granted more time to special judge anti-corruption Srinagar to conclude trial into multi-crore cash-for-paper scam of Common Entrance Test 2012 which was allegedly engineered by the former chairman of Board of Professional Entrance Examinations (BOPEE) Mushtaq Ahmad Peer.
“Extension of time, as has been sought by the Special Judge, Anti-Corruption Kashmir, Srinagar, through his letter on (31 December 2016), is allowed,” said a division bench headed by Chief Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar and Justices Dr D Y Chandrachud and Sanjay Kishan Kaul.
In its letter, the trial court had sought further three months as the time of as many months provided to it by the apex court lapsed by end of the December last year.
The apex court was hearing an appeal filed by the BOPEE against High Court 20 March 2014 directions, directing it to publish a list of 21 meritorious candidates who on the basis of merit may be considered for admission to the MBBS course in place of candidates whose admission have been cancelled following a probe conducted by crime Branch Kashmir.
On previous date of hearing, the Apex Court was informed by the counsel representing BOPEE that as many as 103 prosecution witnesses have already been examined at the trial so far including two investigating officers.
The counsel for the Board said that the trial would have been concluded by now by but for the recent disturbances (last year’s uprising) in the Valley.
He urged that instead of hearing and disposing of the matter, it would be more appropriate to direct the trial court to conclude the trial expeditiously and to pass appropriate orders on the subject as far as possible within a time frame to be fixed by the Apex Court. “Keeping in view the nature of the controversy especially the fact that the cases before us relate to the purity of the process of selection of candidates for admission to medical colleges in the State, we are of the view that instead of passing any interim direction at this stage for re-admission of the (concerned accused) to the course to which they were earlier admitted, we deem it appropriate to direct the trial court to conclude the trial expeditiously and as far as possible within a period of three months,” the court had said and expressed hope that the trial court will be able to achieve it within the time allotted.
The crime branch has filed charge sheet against sixty persons in the scam which include 29 students, 24 parents and 6 brokers besides Peer, who was released on bail after remaining behind bars for more than two years.