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‘Selling’ MBBS seats in Pakistan: ED searches at 10 places in Kashmir

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Srinagar: The Enforcement Directorate has carried out searches at 10 places across four districts in the Kashmir valley as part of its ongoing probe against conspirators involved in arranging admissions for money in various courses, including MBBS in Pakistan, to fund terror activities, an official said.
The ED’s Srinagar Zonal office carried out the search recently under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) at 10 locations in Srinagar, Budgam, Kupwara and Anantnag districts, the official said.
He said the raids were conducted in respect of an investigation relating to the involvement of conspirators who were hand-in-glove with some educational consultancies and manipulating or arranging admission of J-K students in various professional courses, including MBBS in Pakistan-based colleges, institutions and universities.
In May last year, a special NIA court had framed charges against eight persons, including arrested Hurriyat leader Mohammad Akbar Bhat alias “Zaffar Bhat” for selling Pakistani MBBS seats in Jammu and Kashmir to fund terror activities.
The case was registered against the “unscrupulous persons” by the State Investigation Agency (SIA) on July 27, 2020.
The official said the ED initiated probe on the basis of the FIR registered under various sections of UA(P) Act and the Indian Penal Code, and chargesheet filed by counter-intelligence Kashmir, Srinagar, against various accused, including Bhat, Fatima Shah, Altaf Ahmad Bhat, Qazi Yasir, Mohd Abdullah Shah, Sabzar Ahmad Sheikh, Manzoor Ahmad Shah, Mohd Iqbal Mir and Syed Khalid Geelani alias Khalid Andrabi, for their involvement in accumulating funds for terror activities on the pretext of admission of J-K students in various professional courses in Pakistan-based institutions.
“PMLA investigation has also revealed that many times, these admissions are actually part of the Technical Assistance Programme (TAP) and are offered to foreign students either free or at nominal charges on an annual basis.
“However, hefty charges were being levied on the students and the extra money so earned, was ploughed into supporting terrorism in myriad ways on the instructions of Pakistan-based handlers as well as those sitting in Jammu and Kashmir,” the official said.
As of now, the official said proceeds of crime to the tune of about Rs 1 crore have been determined and six people have been identified who had been admitted to various institutions in Pakistan by such elements.
“During the course of search operations, documents related to immovable properties and highly incriminating material, including digital devices related to the scam, have been recovered and seized,” the official said, adding further investigation is in progress.

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