J&K official fired for bungling MBBS entrance exams
Mushtaq Peer was not arrested allegedly thanks to pressure from a senior Congress leader
Ahmed Ali Fayyaz
SRINAGAR: Government of Jammu and Kashmir has terminated the post-retirement service of the former Chairman of Board of Professional Entrance Examinations [BOPEE] Mushtaq Ahmed Peer on account of his prima facie involvement in the multi-crore question paper leakage scam and acquisition of properties worth over Rs 10 crore in the last three years.
General Administration Department’s order No: 1551, issued on November 14 and confirmed by the Cabinet on November 19, did not mention the reason of Mr Peer’s abrupt dismissal. “The contractual appointment of Prof. Mushtaq Ahmad Peer, as Consultant, ordered vide Government Order No.1326-GAD of 2012 Dated 13.12.2012 read with Government Order No. 833-GAD of 2013 dated 31.5.2013, is hereby terminated with immediate effect”, said the order.
Following his retirement as Chairman of BOPEE, Mr Peer had been engaged for a term of two years for providing consultancy to the government on the proposed fast track recruitment of class-4 employees.
Well-placed sources in the Omar Abdullah government revealed to The Hindu that the top corridors of power decided to terminate the consultant’s service weeks after the High Court entertained a Public Interest Litigation and directed the Crime Branch to hold a transparent inquiry into the allegations of manipulating the MBBS selections against him. As Mr Peer’s involvement was established and FIR registered, the State government dismissed the consult “to stave off a huge embarrassment”.
The sources revealed that the Crime Branch decided to arrest and interrogate Mr Peer but a political intervention foiled the move. “A senior Congress leader, who has been instrumental in Mr Peer’s out-of-turn and backdoor promotion, exerted a lot of pressure and warned the officials against his arrest. It was then decided that he would be simply summoned and questioned”, said an official.
Inspector General of Crime Javaid Gillani, however, refused to endorse. “He actually turned up voluntarily to face the questions. We have asked him to return for further interrogation on Thursday”, Mr Gillani asserted. He confirmed that the Crime Branch conducted raids on Mr Peer’s acquisitions and land holdings and seized “a lot of incriminating material”.
The IGP said that Mr Peer had “sold off question papers to some brokers for Rs 65 Lakh who in turn earned Rs 5 crore by collecting money from their clients” in just the 2012 session. “These candidates secretly wrote their exams with masse copying at a private hotel on the Boulevard. We have found 12 of them among the top 30 candidates in the order of merit. Money has been paid by cheques”, Mr Gillani said.
The accused has been found to have purchased over 10 kanals of land in Ganderbal, a built-up house in the posh Tawi Vihar area of Sidhra in
Jammu, some properties at Pahalgam, besides three flats in
Jammu and — all in the last
three years. New
Shower of favours
While as Estates Department has allotted an independent house to Mr Peer in Jammu, Department of Evacuees’ Properties has transferred ownership of another house to his name. He and his wife have been granted several service extensions after their retirement. Sources said that a senior Congress leader had put the government under tremendous pressure to appoint Mr Peer as Vice Chancellor of Islamic University of Science and Technology, Awantipore, at the retirement of Dr Abdul Rashid Trag in February 2014.
Mr Peer and his family were not accessible on telephone on Wednesday.