SAC Initiates Probe Against Peerzada

SAC Initiates Probe Against Peerzada

21 February 2012
Greater Kashmir
Firdous Tak

Jammu: Taking suo-moto cognizance of the ‘infamous’ copying scam, Jammu and Kashmir State Accountability Commission has started probe into the allegations involving the former Education Minister Peerzada Muhammad Sayeed, who has been accused of helping his foster son qualify matriculation examination by using unfair-means. SAC has asked the minister to appear in person before the Commission on March 2, besides directing its own office to seek, from the Home Secretary, “authentic copy” of the inquiry report on the matter submitted by the Crime Branch. According to sources, the Commission comprising its Chairperson, Justice (Retd) YP Nargotra and Member, Justice (Retd) Hakim Imtiyaz Hussain 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 observed that serious allegations of abuse of official position against the then Education Minister Peerzada Muhammad Syed have appeared in the news reports. “He (minister) is alleged to have 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)”, the Commission observed in its order and added; “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 further observed that on the orders of Chief Minister, Crime Branch has conducted the inquiry into the allegations and submitted its report to the Principal Secretary Home Department confirming the allegations. “As 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 order reads. The Commission has asked its office to call for the authenticated copy of enquiry report from the Principal Secretary Home Department, “which he may have received from the Crime Branch relating to matter of use of unfair means by the foster son of the minister”. The Minister was divested of education portfolio on February 9, this year, after an enquiry report submitted by the Crime Branch allegedly found his involvement in the scam. Corroborating a scoop published by this newspaper on January 30, the Crime Branch, during its investigations, 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. The 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 the Minister’s son. The report said there were clearly two hand writings, confirmed by forensic experts, on three answer sheets of the Class 10 exam taken by the 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. As the controversy broke out, Chief Minister had announced an inquiry by the Crime Branch which carried out a detailed questioning of the BOSE officials. Peerzada has 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 as the then Minister for Rural Development in the erstwhile PDP-Congress coalition Government led by Mufti Muhammad Sayeed. In 2008, Peerzada had to resign from the post of Education Minister and from the president-ship of State Congress after the then MLA Sangrama, Shoaib Lone, alleged on the floor of the House that Peerzada took Rs 40,000 as bribe from him to clear his sister’s file. This is the second time in last one week when the Commission has initiated suo-moto probe in the allegations of favoritism and corruption. Earlier, the Commission asked the Chief Minister to explain the validity of the appointment of Board heads and Advisors with the status of ministers in the state.