New Delhi, Sept. 19: A CBI court today convicted Rajya Sabha member Rasheed Masood of fraudulently nominating undeserving candidates to Tripura’s share of MBBS seats outside the state from a central pool.
Uttar Pradesh-based Masood, 66, now a Congress Working Committee member, was health minister in the V.P. Singh government in 1990 when he allegedly took bureaucrats’ help to get his nephew and two others admitted under Tripura’s quota.
Sentencing has been set for October 1 but the charges Masood has been convicted of — criminal conspiracy, cheating, forgery and criminal misconduct — carry jail terms up to seven years.
Along with Masood, the court convicted two senior bureaucrats: Gurdial Singh, then resident commissioner at Delhi’s Tripura Bhavan, and Amal Kumar Roy, secretary to then Tripura chief minister Sudhir Ranjan Majumdar.
Majumdar and then Tripura health minister Kashi Ram Reang too were accused in the case but passed away pending trial. Nine students who fraudulently got admitted to medical colleges too have been convicted.
Since Tripura lacked medical colleges, it was allotted MBBS and BDS (dental) seats from the central pool every year. The state held its own joint entrance exam and nominated successful candidates to these seats in outside medical and dental colleges.
Only those students who were permanent residents of the state or whose parents lived there or were Tripura government employees were eligible to take the exam.
According to the CBI, a Union health ministry file shows that 22 medical and four dental seats were allotted to Tripura in 1990-91 but the state government’s records say that only 17 medical and two dental seats were allotted. It’s clear, the prosecution argued, that five medical and two dental seats from the Centre’s list were suppressed from the state government.
Masood, the CBI alleged, conspired with Gurdial to hand these seats to three ineligible candidates, passing them off as the Tripura government’s nominees.
“Singh fraudulently, dishonestly and unauthorisedly and by abusing his official position issued nomination letters in favour of Masood’s nephew,” the CBI said.
Besides, Gurdial himself allotted one seat to a favoured candidate while then chief minister Majumdar allotted two seats, the CBI said. It added that in 1989-90, too, Majumdar and his secretary Roy had suppressed one dental and five medical seats from Tripura’s quota.
The scandal came to light when a deserving candidate approached a college for admission and was told the seat had already been filled.