Pakistan MBBS admissions scam: Now Kashmiri separatist leaders fall in anti-graft agency’s net

Srinagar February 10; Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has filed a graft case against corrupt Kashmiri separatist leaders weeks after they were charged by the Jammu and Kashmir Police’s SIA for allegedly selling MBBS seats in the neighbouring nation to Kashmiri students and using the money to allegedly spread unrest in the valley.

The FIA has filed a graft case against separatist leader Altaf Bhat presently in Pakistan and 17 others for their alleged involvement in embezzlement of over Rs 100 crore funds in the Central Board of Revenue Employees Cooperative Housing Society.

The case was filed during an enquiry ordered by the Supreme Court of Pakistan. Bhat has allegedly gone underground in Pakistan.

Altaf Bhat, a resident of Begh-e-mehtab in Srinagar is the brother of Salvation Movement founder and ex-militant commander Zaffar Akbar Bhat, who was booked and detained by NIA in a terror funding case some years ago in Kashmir.

Both the brothers, Altaf and Zaffar, are wanted by the Special Investigation Agency (SIA), a newly carved-out unit of Jammu and Kashmir Police, in the Pakistan MBBS admissions scandal.

In December, the SIA submitted the chargesheet in a special court here against nine persons.

The SIA investigation revealed that the Hurriyat Conference leaders and their associates would collect funds under the guise of providing technical education to Kashmiri students in Pakistan.

“These people are the real conflict entrepreneurs who have benefitted from the system on both sides of the Line of Control (LoC),” said a local Kashmiri.

The SIA chargesheet says “the same money was routed to finance militancy in Kashmir, to create law and order problems by disturbing the peace, damaging public property, striking terror among the masses and creating a potential threat to the sovereignty of India.”

Reportedly, over 40 students from Kashmir would go to Pakistan for higher studies, especially for MBBS annually. In 2020, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) had unearthed the scam between students, Pakistan High Commission officials, and separatists of Kashmir.

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.

In November, the J&K administration constituted the SIA as the nodal agency for coordinating with the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and other central agencies for investigation and prosecution of the offences covering all terrorism-related cases.

It was entrusted to take such other measures as “may be necessary for speedy and effective investigation and prosecution of terrorism-related cases.”

Subsequently, the SIA took up the case for investigation and chargesheeted the separatist leaders in the Pakistan MBBS admission scandal.