In a landmark and unprecedented decision by the Judiciary , Mushtaq Ahmad Peer, a former chairman of Board of Professional Entrance Examination (BOPEE), was on Wednesday sentenced to 16 years in prison and fined Rs 1 crore in the multi-crore cash-for-paper scam.
Sajad Ahmad Bhat, who brokered between Peer and students, was sentenced to 12 years in jail and fined Rs 50 lakh by special anti-corruption judge Kashmir Yash Paul Bourney.
Two other persons who were part of the deals, Muhammad Amin Ganai and Suhail Ahmad, were sentenced to five and three years each under various offences. The sentences would run consecutively. Each of them was fined Rs 25 lakh recoverable from their assets.
Haroon Rashid Lone and Shabir Ahmad Dar, who are also part of the scam, will serve consecutively sentences of three years each and pay a fine of Rs 5 lakh each.
On the otherhand, Senior advocate Bashir Ahmad Bashir said that the judgment is unprecedented.
Pertinently, Of the total 54 accused persons in the case, 46 have been convicted and eight acquitted. Among the convicts are students and their parents who have been sentenced to one year and six years respectively.
The court said fine imposed on Peer should be recovered from his assets.
Peer was sentenced under four different offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act and various provisions of the Ranbir Penal Code, carrying a sentence of five, three, seven and one year, which will run consecutively.
The broker, Sajjad Ahmad, would serve sentences of five and seven years consecutively. The fine of Rs 50 lakh should be recovered from the sale of his movable or immovable assets, the court said.
The court said that parents and guardians named Bilal Ahmad Vaid, Ghulam Mohi-ud-din Lone, Muhammed Yousuf Dar, Bashir Ahmad Dar, Abdul Qadir Rather, Ghulam Nabi Bhat, Farooq Ahmad Shah, Muhammed Shafi Bandh, Muhammed Iqbal Reshi, Fida Hussain, Muhammed Amin Mir, Altaf Hussain Shah, Jan Muhammed Dar, Mushtaq Ahmed Kenu, Mushtaq Ahmad Dar, Abdul Hamid Bhat, Bashir Ahmad Tantray, Dar Praveen, and Dr Sabina are sentenced to rigorous imprisonment of three years for offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act and RPC. They were fined Rs 5 lakh each.
The parents and guardians will also serve three years for fraud. Further The court said that the case “would have not seen the light of day” if it were not for former Chief Justice of Jammu and Kashmir High Court MM Kumar’s “unrelenting tirade against delays and arrears in general and corruption in particular with deep sense of responsibility to the cause of justice”.
“Without the intervention of lord chief justice this case would not have been investigated and tried with so much of seriousness and promptitude,” the court said.
The court also hailed inspector Syed Afaq’s efforts for not only “cracking the scam but also remaining available during the trial”.
“I also need to put on record my whole hearted appreciation for the excellent legal support extended by the learned counsels,” the court said
Definitely this historic judgment on BOPEE Scandal is worth applauds and will serve deterrent against corrupt elements.