Balwant Singh Bhau
In the infamous copying scam involving the former education minister Peerzada Mohammad Sayeed of congress, State Accountability Commission (SAC) has decided to avail services of amicus curiae.
Sources told Newspoint Bureau that after high court ruled in favor of state accountability commission in the suo-motto cognizance issue, SAC took up the case for hearing. They added that when the case was taken up for hearing, there was difference of opinion between the chairperson of the commission Justice Bashir Ahmed Khan and the two members namely Justice J.P Singh and Justice B.A Kirmani.
While the SAC Chairperson opined that the case should not be revised, the two members said that there are enough reasons and sufficient evidence available on record which demands that case should be revised. However, the Chairperson remained adamant and said that there was nothing substantial in the case and if it is revised, it won’t make any difference.
Sources said that since the case is already with Crime Branch and probe is on, the two members disagreed and said that since Peerzada was a minister when the case of copying sufficed, and hence, he has misused the office of oath and secrecy that he had entered upon. They further said that on these grounds and many more, an enquiry should be initiated against Peerzada.
Since there was disagreement between the trio decided unanimously to seek the services of amicus curiae, said the sources. They further said that, the amicus curiae would be asked whether the case should be revised or not. A senior lawyer of the High Court is likely to be appointed as the amicus curiae to assist SAC in deciding the fate of this important case.
It needs to be mentioned here that SAC had taken suo-moto cognizance of the ‘infamous’ copying scam and started probe into the allegations involving the former Education Minister Peerzada Muhammad Sayeed, who had been accused of helping his foster son qualify matriculation examination by using unfair-means. The then commission comprising of its Chairperson, Justice (Retd) YP Nargotra and Member, Justice (Retd) Hakim Imtiyaz Hussain had initiated the probe on the basis of the reports carried by various newspapers regarding alleged use of unfair means by the foster son of Peerzada Muhammad Syed, during his secondary school examination in the year 2009.
The Commission had then observed that serious allegations of abuse of official position against the then Education Minister Peerzada Muhammad Syed had appeared in the news reports. The commission had said that Peerzada had used his official position in facilitating the use of unfair means by his foster son, Imam Souban Bhat during his secondary school examination (annual) in the year 2009 at Al Ameen School Center (Center No. 228).
It had further said that the candidate even after being caught by the Vigilance Squad using unfair means was not booked and was let off on the telephonic intervention. Quoting media reports, SAC had then further observed that on the orders of Chief Minister, Crime Branch has conducted the inquiry into the allegations and submitted its report to Principal Secretary Home Department confirming allegations.
It had gone to the extent of saying that since the allegations made against the Education Minister squarely fall within the J&K Accountability Commission Act 2002 and are likely to shake the confidence of public in the democratic institutions, therefore, it shall be appropriate for the SAC to take cognizance into the matter in exercise of the powers vested in terms of section 9 and hold enquiry in terms of section 13 of the Act.
The Commission had asked its office to call for the authenticated copy of enquiry report from the Principal Secretary Home Department. Peerzada was then divested of education portfolio, after an enquiry report submitted by the Crime Branch allegedly found his involvement in the scam. Crime Branch, during its investigations had confirmed use of “unfair means” by Peerzada’s foster son in connivance with BOSE and Education Department officials to pass class 10 examination in 2009.
Crime Branch in its report submitted to the government had also indicted six officials including present BOSE chairman Sheikh Bashir Ahmad, then deputy director academics Mehraj-ud-Din Zargar and four others for facilitating copying of minister’s son. Report had said there were clearly two hand writings, confirmed by forensic experts, on three answer sheets of Class 10 exam taken by Minister’s son.
The answer scripts of Urdu paper were, as per probe, written by Mehraj-ud-Din Zargar while answer sheets of Mathematics and Geography were written by Imtiyaz Ahmad, an education department official who was posted as Deputy Superintendent at the said centre. Imam Souban, Peerzada Sayeed’s foster son, had passed his Class 10 exam in 2009. Peerzada had gone to the court and questioned the suo-motto powers of the commission, following which court had granted his stay. The stay was vacated after the High Court restored suo-motto powers of the commission recently.
Peerzada had been in the midst of controversies since 2004 as Corruption watchdog State Accountability Commission (SAC) had indicted him for his “knee deep” involvement in the multi-crore rural electrification scam.