Students part of scam sentenced to 1-year rigorous imprisonment, parents to 3 years
Srinagar: The Special Anti-Corruption Court in Srinagar on Wednesday announced its verdict on the scam in Board of Professional Entrance Examination (BOPEE) and sentenced former chairman of the Board, Mushtaq Peer, to 16 years’ rigorous imprisonment along with Rs 1 crore fine. A broker, Sajad Ahmad, was awarded a 5-year jail term and Rs 50 lakh fine. The court convicted 43 others for the scam and acquitted 7 persons.
The 43 convicted persons include students who benefited from the scam. They were sentenced to one-year rigorous imprisonment. A 3-year rigorous imprisonment was awarded to parents of the students who benefited from the scam, along with a Rs 5 lakh fine.
Mushtaq Ahmad Peer, the former chairman who engineered the Common Entrance Test (CET) 2012 scam, was given the maximum punishment for offence under Section 5(1)(d) r/w 5(2) P.C. Act (as reduced from seven years to five years vide Act No.8 of 2014 dated 22-03-2014).
The court in its decision said that given the quantum of the illegal gains made by Peer and his financial growth during the past six years, he was fit to be sentenced to pay a fine of Rs 1 crore.
The judge further sentenced Peer to rigorous imprisonment of three years for offence u/s 409 RPC, which otherwise is the maximum imprisonment for offence punishable under section 406 RPC, for which Peer was mistakenly charged earlier but later booked under Section 409.
The court further sentenced Peer to rigorous imprisonment of seven years for offence u/s 420 RPC. The court said that Peer shall further undergo rigorous imprisonment of one year for offence u/s 120-B RPC.
“All these sentences would run consecutively and fine imposed shall be recovered from the movable/immovable assets of the convict in terms of the provisions of section 386 CrPC for which a separate warrant be issued to the Collector Srinagar,” the court said.
The parents of the candidates selected in CET 2012 were held to be responsible for using their money power for grabbing illegally the berths which otherwise would have gone to meritorious students. The court sentenced them to rigorous imprisonment of three years for offence u/s 5(1) (d) read with 5(2) P.C. Act and 120-B RPC, and also to pay a fine of Rupees 5 lakh each
“All the accused including Peer were present in the court on Wednesday when the verdict was announced by special judge anti-corruption. Forty-three persons were convicted while seven persons were acquitted in the case,” said a lawyer.
The crime branch arrested Peer on November 23, 2014, after investigations revealed that he had sold CET-2012 papers along with answer keys for Rs 60 lakhs.
Peer was charge-sheeted along with more than 50 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 were beneficiary students and parents, besides brokers.
“Being the sole custodian and trustee of the question papers for CET-2012, Peer was found to have abused his official position by making the sale of question papers along with answer key prior to conducting of examination and conferred undue benefit upon the beneficiaries, resulting in the selection of undeserving candidates for MBBS,” the chargesheet said.
Peer was granted bail by the High Court on May 24 last year. The High Court and the trial court had earlier rejected several bail applications by Peer given the gravity and seriousness of the offence committed by him.
The convicts, who were on bail before, were today taken into custody and shall undergo their sentences at Central Jail Srinagar.