The Jammu and Kashmir Police on Wednesday claimed to have arrested six people for procuring medical seats in Pakistan for students of Kashmir through Hurriyat leaders to fund terror outfits.
"Four people have been arrested in connection with procuring MBBS seats for students from Jammu and Kashmir in Pakistan via Hurriyat and terror funding", Director General of Police (DGP) Jammu and Kashmir Dilbag Singh informed, adding, "Mohammed Akbar Bhat alias Zafar Bhat, who is chairman of the salvation movement, Fatima Shah, Mohammed Abdullah Shah, and Shabzar Ahmed Sheikh were arrested. Brother of Mohammed Abdullah Shah went to Pakistan in the 90s and working as a facilitator of Hurriyat".
The DGP, however, said that details of other accused can't be shared right now as the investigation is underway.
An alternative mechanism for terror funding in Valley
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) had 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.
According to the police, "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."
Police said during the investigation, 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.
MBBS quota allocated to Hurriyat leaders
Police claimed 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.
"Based on available evidence, a conservative estimate indicated that the money involved could be around Rs. 4 crores per annum. Every year minimum of 40 MBBS seats were allocated to Hurriyat leaders for selling," official sources said.
"The investigation has also revealed that both at the time of collecting the money from the parents as well as channeling it for use by terrorists and separatists, intermediaries were used to hiding the transactions. For example, in some cases money was received through educational consultancies to conceal the end-use," official sources said.