Custody required to unravel 'larger nexus', says CBI
New Delhi: A special court on Thursday gave the Central Bureau of Investigation custody of retired high court judge Ishrat Masroor Quddusi and five others for four days in a corruption case.
Quddusi, who had retired from the Orissa high court in 2010, was arrested after the CBI filed a case against him and four others for allegedly helping lift a government ban on a private medical college from admitting students.
Judge Manoj Jain of the special court handling CBI cases sent Quddusi and the others to custody after the CBI said their custodial interrogation was required to unearth the "larger nexus" in the alleged medical college scam.
The others who were B.P. Yadav and Palash Yadav of the Prasad Educational Trust, which runs a medical college in Lucknow, middleman Biswanath Agrawala, alleged hawala operator Ramdev Saraswat and one Bhawna Pandey who is believed to be 'well connected' in Uttar Pradesh.
There was high drama in wee hours on Thursday when CBI knocked on the doors of a serving high court judge in Odisha at 2 am and beat a hasty retreat after realising that it relied on an outdated address book.
This prompted infuriated lawyers to cease work, landed the CBI in a trespassing case.
The CBI investigators were on the trail of retired judge I.M. Qudussi who has been accused of assuring a private medical college of a favourable settlement in the Supreme Court in a case dealing with the institute's debarment.
The agency had landed up at ISO4, a residential address on Gopabandhu Marg in Cuttack, on the mistaken assumption that Justice Qudussi lived there. The judge did live on the premises - but seven years ago in 2010 before he retired as a judge of Chhattisgarh High Court in 2012.
The current occupant of the house is a serving judge in Orissa High Court, Justice C.R. Dash.
At the gate, the CBI officers revealed their identity to the security guard and declared their intention. Soon, they noticed the nameplate of Justice Dash, realised their blunder and left.
The CBI said all the arrests were made late on Wednesday night after searches at eight locations, including Quddusi's residence in south Delhi, and in Bhubaneswar and Lucknow.
The CBI's spokesperson, Abhishek Dayal, had denied that it tried to raid Justice Dash's house. Dayal said a CBI team visited several places on Wednesday night, "including current and past residences of the said retired Orissa High Court judge", but had not entered Justice Dash's house after being told about the current occupant.
According to the CBI, the retired judge helped a private medical college that had been blacklisted from admitting students because of substandard facilities.
The CBI said one person got in touch with the retired judge and a resident of Delhi and entered into a criminal conspiracy to overturn the ban.
One person was caught after taking Rs 1 crore, allegedly from a hawala operator based at Chandni Chowk in Delhi.