After hearing arguments, a special court here on Monday framed charges against eight persons, including a prominent Hurriyat leader, for selling Pakistani MBBS seats in Jammu and Kashmir to fund terror activities in the Union Territory and across the country.
Charges were also framed against a woman who was also hand-in-glove with some educational consultancies for arranging admission of J&K residents in MBBS and other professional courses in various colleges, institutions, and universities in Pakistan.
Special judge of NIA court, Srinagar, Manjeet Singh Manhas, framed the charges against Hurriyat leader and chairman Salvation Movement Mohammad Akbar Bhat alias 'Zaffar Akbar Bhat' and seven other residents of Kashmir for committing offences under various sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
Besides Zaffar Akbar Bhat, charges were framed against Fatima Shah, Altaf Ahmad Bhat (at present in Pakistan), Qazi Yasir (absconding), Mohammad Abdullah Shah, Sabzar Ahmad Sheikh, Manzoor Ahmad Shah (at present in Pakistan), and Mohammad Iqbal Mir, who was released on bail because he was suffering from a terminal disease.
MBBS seat selling module busted in August 2021
On August 18, 2021, the Jammu and Kashmir Police busted the module involved in selling MBBS seats for colleges, and universities of Pakistan for students of Kashmir through Hurriyat leaders to fund terror outfits with the arrest of four persons.
Mohammed Akbar Bhat alias Zafar Bhat, who is chairman of the salvation movement, Fatima Shah, Mohammed Abdullah Shah, and Shabzar Ahmed Sheikh were arrested. The Brother of Mohammed Abdullah Shah went to Pakistan in the 90s and worked as a facilitator of Hurriyat.
Every year, over 100 students from Kashmir Valley usually go to Pakistan for higher studies, especially for MBBS. In the year 2020, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) unearthed the scam between students, Pakistan High Commission officials, and separatists of Kashmir Valley.
The NIA had termed admissions of students from Jammu and Kashmir to medical institutions in Pakistan on the recommendations of separatists as an alternative mechanism of terror funding in the Valley.
After getting authentic inputs that some Hurriyat leaders were selling Pakistan-based MBBS seats with the connivance of educational consultancies, the Counter-Intelligence Kashmir had registered a case in July 2020.
It was established that the money collected from the parents of the aspiring or potential students was used 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 and startling facts emerged, police claimed.
A deep-rooted conspiracy was established during the investigation
It was further established during the investigation that a part of a larger conspiracy accused persons through different Valley-based consultancies without their knowledge used to motivate the gullible parents of students aspiring for professional courses especially for MBBS to apply through these consultancies for such courses in Pakistan with the assurance of cost-effectiveness in comparison with other south Asian or middle east countries offering such courses. On the motivation of accused persons, the parents/students often used to get trapped.
It was established that, on average, the cost of a seat ranged between Rs 10 to Rs 12 lakhs. In some cases, the price was brought down after the intervention of Hurriyat leaders. Every year minimum of 40 MBBS seats was allocated to Hurriyat leaders for selling.
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 hide the transactions. For example, in some cases, money was received through educational consultancies to conceal the end-use.
NMC, DCI already asked students not to pursue medical degrees in Pakistan
The National Medical Commission (NMC) and Dental Council of India (DCI) April 28, have advised all concerned not to travel to Pakistan for pursuing medical/dental education. Although the order was issued on April 28.
"Any Indian national/overseas citizen of India who intends to take admission in MBBS/BDS or equivalent medical/dental course in any medical/dental college of Pakistan shall not be eligible for appearing in FMGE/screening test or seeking employment in India on the basis of educational qualifications (in any subject) acquired in Pakistan except those who had joined Pakistan degree colleges/institutions before December 2018 or later after obtaining Security Clearance from MHA till date", reads the official order issued on April 28.