Bhanu P Lohumi
Tribune News Service
Shimla, January 3
Manav Bharti University (MBU), Solan, had sold fake degrees in 13 states through agents, who acted as conduits and shared the names of buyers with its officials. The former Registrar of the university maintained a separate diary with entries of cash transactions and fake students. So far, 16 persons have been arrested in the racket.
Investigation by a special investigation team (SIT) of the CID has pointed out that fake degrees were sold in Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka and two other states between Rs 1 lakh and Rs 3 lakh.
- Degrees were sold for Rs1 lakh-Rs3 lakh in cash
- Properties valuing Rs194.74 cr linked to the proceeds of the crime have been attached
- A case was registered against MBU officials on March 3, 2020.
- The UGC, in August 2019, had pointed out alleged sale of fake degrees in two universities of HP
- MBU was established in 2009 under the HP Private University (Establishment & Regulation) Act
The agents used to deposit the daily collections with the university officials and the Whatsapp details of the transactions were sent to the Chairman of the Manav Bharti Charitable Trust, Raj Kumar Rana, sources said. After a perusal of the digital evidence and matching with the parameters of genuine degrees, so far about 50,000 degrees are suspected to be fake and 50 of 55 hard disks recovered have been scanned by forensic experts after retrieving the deleted data.
During the course of investigation, the SIT had also recovered blank copies, unchecked answer sheets, certificates of courses not offered by the university and mark sheets with over-writing without the signature of the evaluator from Madhav University (Rajasthan), a sister concern of the MBU.
Till now, 16 persons, including promoter of MBU Raj Kumar Rana, former Registrar of the university Sarika, who maintained the diary of cash transactions, four main agents, namely Himanshu Sharma (Gurgaon), Pankaj Aggarwal (Faridabad), Rajiv Goel (Bathinda) and Abhishek Gupta (Chandigarh), had been arrested said IGP (CID) Atul Fulzele.
The other accused (officials of the university and middlemen) arrested in the case were Krishan Kumar, Pramod Kumar, Kewal Sharma, Manish Goel, Mohit Rana, Ajay Kumar, Shashipal, Anupam Thakur, Manu Singh and Sudha Pandey. All of them are out on bail. Notices have been served on them and further investigation is underway.