Some leaders of the Hurriyat Conference, an amalgam of secessionist groups, allegedly "used" Kashmir-based "consultancy" firms to woo prospective students for engineering and medical seats in Pakistan for which a fake 'National Talent Search' examination was conducted, according to a charge sheet filed by the Jammu and Kashmir Police.
The charge sheet, filed by the State Investigation Agency (SIA), has highlighted several instances where parents were taken across the border using valid travel documents but were later compelled to pay extra money for their wards' admission to universities and colleges there.
"During investigation, it also got reflected that the students/parents were duped by the accused. They were made to visit Pakistan for admissions to MBBS, however, (they) would become hopeless after discovering their admission letters as fake.
"Circumstances were created wherein parents/students were put to absolute state of despondency so as to demand extra money to be either wire transferred or delivered to their persons of choice in Kashmir," the charge sheet, accessed by PTI, said.
It is the first chargesheet filed by the SIA, a newly carved-out unit of J&K Police, which named nine people, mostly separatists, for allegedly selling MBBS seats in Pakistan to Kashmiri students and using the money to spread unrest in the Union territory, officials said.
"Parents would comply with such diktats of these Pakistan-based Hurriyat leaders or terrorists of Kashmiri origin (who had exfiltrated to Pakistan for arms training during the outbreak of militancy) to seek admissions to MBBS at Pakistan.
"This accumulated money under a well-knitted conspiracy/secrecy would land in the hands of active terrorists, families of killed militants and stone pelters through some Hurriyat leaders and their associates to further terrorist/secessionist activities in Jammu and Kashmir," the SIA said, adding that in a few cases, students and parents were completely duped by the accused and their hard-earned money was never or partly returned.
The SIA submitted the charge sheet in a special court here on Thursday against the nine, including Mohammed Akbar Bhat alias Zaffar Bhat, a constituent of the Hurriyat Conference.
It alleged that some students and their parents were also duped of their money on the pretext of having professional seats arranged in Pakistan.
The SIA said students were made to appear in a National Talent Search (NTS) test at Hurriyat office in Pakistan as a "dupe tactic" to make them believe that they were writing a pre-qualifying test which would lead to their admission in professional colleges in Pakistan.
It said such tests were mostly facilitated by the people or relatives of the accused, who had exfiltrated to Pakistan and were settled in the country or in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), who were utilising their Kashmir-based contacts to aid and abet terrorism in J&K.
During investigation, the SIA said it surfaced that as part of a larger conspiracy, the accused used to motivate gullible parents of students aspiring for professional courses, especially for MBBS, to apply to Pakistan through valley-based consultancies, without their knowledge, assuring cost-effectiveness in comparison with other South Asian or Middle East countries offering such courses.
The SIA said it came to light that the accused were affiliated with the Hurriyat chapter of Kashmir and Pakistan and were illegally making money under a planned conspiracy.
"...while recording statement, it came to fore that the accumulated money was ploughed into militancy and to create law and order problems by disturbing peace, damaging public property, striking terror among the common masses and creating potential threat to the sovereignty of India.
"Money raised through this process was also distributed among the families of killed terrorists as a token of incentive for such families and families of active militants to boost their morale and carry forward anti-national, subversive and radical activities against Union of India," the SIA said.
A case was registered in July last year by the Counter Intelligence Kashmir (CIK), a branch of the police's CID which was later designated the SIA, after receiving information through reliable sources that several unscrupulous people, including some Hurriyat leaders, were hand in glove with educational consultancies and were selling seats of MBBS and other courses in Pakistani colleges and universities.
Besides Bhat, chairman of Salvation Movement, a constituent of moderate Hurriyat Conference, the charge sheet named his brother Altaf Ahmad Bhat along with Manzoor Ahmad Shah (both living in Pakistan), a religious leader from Anantnag Qazi Yasir, Fatima Shah, Mohammad Abdullah Shah, Sabzar Ahmad Sheikh and Mohd Iqbal Mir of Mahaz Azadi Front and Syed Khalid Geelani.
While five people, including Bhat, were lodged in Central Jail, Altaf Ahmad Bhat, Qazi Yasir and Manzoor Ahmad Bhat were absconding. A process had been initiated by the SIA declaring them absconders. The ninth accused, Geelani, would be charged only for cheating.
According to the SIA charge sheet, the accused were demanding huge amounts of money from parents for getting their children admitted in different technical courses in Pakistan and would also arrange recommendation letters from Hurriyat and other valid travel documents from Pakistan Embassy, New Delhi to facilitate their visit to the neighbouring nation for admission.