Police station counter intelligence Kashmir in Srinagar on receipt of information through reliable sources that several unscrupulous persons including some Hurriyat leaders were hand in glove with some educational consultancies and are selling Pakistan-based MBBS seats and seats in other professional courses in various colleges and universities, had registered a case in July 2020.
The information on the basis of which criminal investigations had been started into the matter also suggested that the money collected from the parents of the aspiring or potential students was used, at least partly, to support and fund terrorism and separatism in different ways.
While investigating this case vide FIR number 05/2020 under section 13, 17, 22A, 40 Unlawful Activities Prevention Act read with section 4 of Prevention of Money Laundering Act, many significant facts emerged and came to be established.
During investigation it surfaced that MBBS and other professional degree related seats in many cases were preferentially given to those students who were close family members or relatives of killed terrorists. There were also cases where the quota allotted to individual Hurriyat leaders were sold to anxious parents desiring to obtain MBBS and other professional degrees in one way or the other.
More than 80 cases were studied in which either the students or their parents were examined. The cases pertain to the seats in academic years between 2014-18. Searches of about a dozen premises in the valley had been undertaken to look for evidence of collection of money and its further usage.
Analysis of digital records and paper receipts as well as records pertaining to bank transactions revealed that a sizeable portion of the collected money was kept aside for personal use. Evidence also came on record to show that money had been variously put into channels that ended up in supporting programmes and projects pertaining to terrorism and separatism. For example, payment for organising stone pelting also could also be traced and brought on record.
Examination of witnesses corroborated by other circumstantial evidence, also indicated that many families who approached Hurriyat leaders to avail the programme of ISI that aimed at incentivising terrorism by compensating the family of slain terrorists, by way of providing free of cost MBBS and engineering seats were disappointed as monetary consideration was given precedence over the intended objective of the ISI programme.
As per investigation, on an average the cost of a seat ranged between 10 to 12 lakhs. In some cases, the price was brought down on Sifarish of Hurriyat leaders. In other words, depending upon the political heft of a Hurriyat leader who intervened, concessions were extended to the aspiring student and his family.
On the basis of available evidence, a conservative estimate indicated that the money involved could be around Rs. 4 crore per annum, on the basis of the fact that allocation of seats for distribution by individual Hurriyat leaders where around 40 seats for MBBS programme every year. It could be more. This aspect is still open and a matter of further investigation.
The investigation has also revealed that both at the time of collecting the money from the parents as well as channelling it for use by terrorists and separatists, intermediaries were used to layer the transactions. For example, in some cases money was received through educational consultancies to conceal the end-use.
Following persons have been arrested for being a part of the inward and outward supply chains at one stage or the other and where credible evidence could be collected and brought on record.
1) Mohammad Akbar Bhat @ Zaffar Bhat (Chairman Salvation Movement) S/O Ab. Jabbar R/O Usmania Colony Baghi-Mehtab, Srinagar.
2) Fatima Shah W/O Nisar Ahmad Shah R/O PalhalanPattan A/P 172, Nundreshi Colony near Sham Lal Pump Bemina, Srinagar.
3) Mohammad Abdullah Shah S/O Ghulam Ahmad Shah R/O Kulpora Salkoot Kupwara
4) Sabzar Ahmad Sheikh S/O Bashir Ahmad Sheikh R/O Nowgam, Shangus Anantnag.
5) Altaf Ahmad Bhat S/o Abdul Jabar Bhat R/o ShakarporaBagh-i-mehtab Srinagar A/P Baheria Town,Karachi, Pakistan (Brother of accused at Serial No. 01).
6) Manzoor Ahmad Shah S/o Gh. Ahmad Shah R/o Kulpora Salkote Kupwara A/P Gulmohar Colony, Near High Court Rawalpindi, Pakistan (Brother of accused at serial No. 04)
Moreover two more accused persons against whom there is ample evidence are evading arrest & both of them will be arrested soon.
There are two accused individuals involved in the instant case FIR, who ex-filtrated to Pakistan during early 1990s for illegal arms and ammunition training and have settled down on the other side. They played a key role on behalf of ISI in facilitating matter pertaining to admissions under this category for this set of Hurriyat linked persons on Indian side. the part of nefarious design of pumping money into the militancy and other terrorist related activities.