Valley News Desk

Srinagar, April 15 (GNS): Former BOPEE chairman Mushtaq Ahmad Peer was released on parole following directions by a High Powered Committee, constituted by the government in compliance with the directions by the Supreme Court to decongest jails amid COVID-19 pandemic.

Highly reliable sources told GNS that the Peer had filed an online application and his release comes a week after high court had asked him to approach the committee.

“It would be appropriate for applicant/appellant (peer) to avail the remedy by approaching the High Powered Committee. In the event, applicant approaches the High Powered Committee, it shall consider and decide the application of applicant in accordance with the scheme/guidelines, laying down the categories for release of prisoners given the spread of COVID 19,” a bench of Justice Tashi Rabstan had said last week.

In April 2018, a special anti-corruption court sentenced Peer to a total of 16 years of rigorous imprisonment for his involvement in the 2012 Common Entrance Test (CET) scam.

The court had also imposed a fine of Rs 1 crore on Peer and Rs 50 lakh on another accused, Sajad Ahmad Bhat, who was acting as a broker in the scam.

The court had sentenced Peer to seven years of rigorous imprisonment under section 420 of the Ranbir Penal Code (RPC), five years of imprisonment under section 5 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, three years of imprisonment under section 409 of the RPC and one year of imprisonment under section 120B of the RPC. It has ordered that all the sentences would run “consecutively”.

The court had convicted 43 accused, including Peer, in the case, while it acquitted seven others.

In its 382-page order, the court had said, “Mushtaq Peer, being at the helm of affairs as chairman of the board, occupied the top position, which he had abused to the fullest by orchestrating the criminal conspiracy for putting on sale the question papers, the secrecy of which he was under obligation to maintain.

“This dastardly crime is his brainchild and it would not have been possible for others to have even a glimpse of the question papers had he not defied the state….”

It had observed that scams like these contributed to the large-scale brain drain from the state and other law-and-order problems and said, “Therefore, this accused deserves no leniency at all.” Peer was arrested on November 23, 2014, by the Crime Branch. During the investigation, it had come to light that Peer, in connivance with the other accused, had sold the CET 2012 examination papers, along with the answer keys, to some candidates for Rs 60 lakh. (GNS)

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