After raiding retired Orissa high court judge Ishrat Masroor Quddusi, CBI has arrested him, along with a Delhi-based “conduit”, Bhawna Pandey , and four others, for allegedly helping a private medical college get its debarment revoked in return for large payoffs. CBI is probing whether Quddusi was involved in more such deals on the basis of documents recovered from his residence in Greater Kailash. The line of inquiry gains significance in view of the SC’s scrutiny of why two Allahabad HC judges allowed a UP college to admit students in the MBBS course.
The decision of Justices S N Shukla and Viren dra Kumar breached the apex court’s directive to HCs to not let private medical colleges admit MBBS students for the academic year 2017-18. The SC’s move to look into what could have led to the transgression coincided with the CBI intensifying a probe into alleged irregular admissions for MBBS courses amid suspicions that the masterminds enlisted Quddusi and at least one more retired HC judge.
Interestingly, Pandey, who was earlier arrested by CBI in 2001 along with the exchairman of the Central Board of Excise and Customs, B P Verma, lives on the third floor of the same house as Quddusi. A sting operation reportedly conducted in 2014 was doing the rounds of social media in which Quddusi, who had retired by then, and Pandey are seen discussing about settling a public interest litigation in a land-related matter.
The 18-minute sting operation was reportedly shot in a Delhi hotel. A CBI officer said, “Quddusi’s role, along with many other public functionaries in Allahabad, Delhi and other places, in many such deals is being further probed.” Quddusi, a Bhubaneswar-based middleman, Dr Vishwanath Agrawala, owners of Prasad Institute of Medical Science in Lucknow, B P Yadav and his son Palash Yadav, and a hawala operator, Ram Dev Saraswat, from whom Rs 1 crore bribe money was allegedly recovered, were summoned to the CBI headquarters on Wednesday evening.
By late Wednesday night, Quddusi and the others were arrested as sources said they were “not cooperating”. Pandey, who allegedly played a crucial role in facilitating the college’s case, was arrested on Thursday morning.
All six were sent to four days in CBI custody after being produced in the court of special CBI judge Manoj Jain at Tis Hazari.
The investigative agency claimed that their custodial interrogation was required to unearth the “larger nexus” in the alleged medical college scam issue.
After registering an FIR against Quddusi and others, the CBI had conducted raids at eight locations in Delhi, Lucknow and Bhubaneswar on Wednesday . It recovered Rs 1.91 crore, besides several documents, said to be related to “dubious deals,” from the residence of the accused.
As carried in TOI