Arrest of ex-Orissa HC judge IM Quddusi could open can of worms on multi-crore dirty court deals

The arrest of retired Orissa High Court judge Ishrat Masroor Quddusi and five other persons may expose several "dirty deals" as the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has recovered incriminating documents, which shows influence was used to settle other multi-crore projects.

The CBI has arrested them on the charge of helping an Uttar Pradesh-based educational trust barred by the government from admitting medical course students. Those arrested along with Quddusi after questioning are BP Yadav, Palash Yadav, Biswanath Agrawala, and Ram Dev Saraswat.

Interestingly, one of the accused, Bhawana Pandey, lives in the same building in south Delhi's posh Greater Kailash area where retired judge Quddusi was staying.

Bhawana Pandey is a known name for the CBI as on April 2, 2001, the agency had arrested her along with suspended Central Board of Excise and Customs chairman B P Verma, his son Siddharth on charges of corruption.

Pandey is known among the political circlea as a 'power broker' and has allegedly helped in settling several highprofile deals.

This is not the first time Pandey was linked with Quddusi - as a sting video uploaded on YouTube in 2014 has resurfaced that shows them striking the deal to file a public interest litigation (PIL) against diesel subsidy and push for land subsidy for an e-car company.

In the video, which was apparently shot at a five-star hotel, Pandey can be seen acting as his mediator in judicial dealings. Mail Today could not verify the authenticity of the video but the 18-minutes clip is also in the notice of CBI.

Investigators told Mail Today during the searches they have found several documents, which indicate that Quddusi was involved in other corporate deals as well, but they are yet to find if he used his influence in settling court matters and whether other judicial members were involved in the case.

During the raids, including at Quddusi's residence, CBI seized Rs 1.91 crore, including Rs 1 crore from middleman Agrawala and Rs 91 lakh from others. Agarwala had received the seized money from a hawala dealer.

The CBI FIR said BP Yadav and Palash Yadav were managing the Lucknow-based Prasad Educational Trust which runs the Prasad Institute of Medical Sciences.

The institute is among 46 colleges barred by the government from admitting medical course students for two years (till 2019) because of substandard facilities and non-fulfilment of criteria.

A special court sent all the accused on four-day CBI custody in a corruption case. Special judge Manoj Jain sent Quddusi and others to custody after the central probe agency said their custodial interrogation was required to unearth the larger nexus in the alleged medical college scam issue.