New Delhi: Retired High Court judge Ishrat Masroor Quddusi and five others were arrested Thursday by the CBI in an alleged corruption case involving a Lucknow medical college which was trying to get relief from courts after being placed on a government blacklist.
Indications are that the CBI, which secured custody of the six for questioning over four days, has in its possession phone intercepts that mention Quddusi and sitting judges of a High Court.
According to the sources, phone intercepts of conversations regarding the Prasad Institute of Medical Sciences, one of many barred from functioning because of poor infrastructure, prompted the CBI to arrest Justice Quddusi, who had served in the High Courts of Allahabad, Orissa and Chhattisgarh, and five others — B P Yadav and Palash Yadav, promoters of the medical college; alleged middleman Biswanath Agrawal; alleged hawala operator Ram Dev Saraswat; and, Bhawana Pandey who, the CBI said, was Quddusi’s associate.
Special judge Manoj Jain sent Quddusi and the others to CBI custody after the prosecution said their custodial interrogation was required to unearth the “larger nexus” in the alleged medical college scandal. The CBI told the court that a total recovery of Rs 1.86 crore had been made during searches.
Sending the accused to CBI custody, special judge Jain said: “It is an embarrassing situation, but if they (CBI) are not given custody, the truth will never come out.”
According to CBI sources, a 2014 sting video features Quddusi and Pandey in which they are heard negotiating with a person regarding court cases on diesel cars. The CBI FIR alleged that promoters of the Lucknow medical college, one of 46 barred by the government from admitting students for two years, had approached Quddusi who had promised relief from the court in exchange for bribes to influential people.
The college challenged the government order in the Supreme Court which, the FIR said, directed the government on August 1 to consider afresh the material on record. In compliance with the order, the government heard the matter and barred the college from taking admissions for two sessions — 2017-18 and 2018-19. It also authorised the Medical Council of India to encash the college’s bank guarantee of Rs 2 crore.
Against this, the MCI went to Supreme Court which disposed of the matter on August 29 with the college submitting that “it does not claim any benefit from the order passed by the HC”. At this point, according to CBI, Quddusi and Pandey “assured to get the matter settled” through their contacts.