A racket supplying fake degree certificates of the University of Pune (UoP) for getting jobs in Singapore and possibly in other countries has been unearthed with the suspected involvement of certain insiders from the university.
The presence of the racket has come to the fore following the Singapore consulate’s move a few months ago, seeking verification of the marksheets of a group of Indians who were in that country for either training or jobs.
An internal probe carried out by the UoP has detected as many as 187 fake certificates of MA, MSc and BE among other courses. The bearers of these documents are mostly from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar among other north Indian states.“While making fake certificates, miscreants have simply replaced names of original candidates with that of other names keeping details such as marks, signatures and seal of the university the same. Therefore, these certificates look exactly like original certificates. We could detect the foul play since we have detailed database of students along with marks,” Sudhakar Jadhavar, dean of Commerce faculty at UoP, told Newsline, on Friday.
He said there was a strong possibility of the involvement of some ‘insiders’ in the racket. “The fake certificates carry data, which is not possible for any outsider to get. There is a strong possibility that some insiders might have been associated with the racket. It appears to be a multi-state racket with UoP at its centre,” said Jadhavar.
In his report submitted to the vice-chancellor, Jadhavar has sought a CBI inquiry into the matter.
UoP Vice-Chancellor Wasudeo Gade said an FIR would be registered with the local police next week. “The latest meeting of the board of examination discussed the case of fake certificates at length, and we have decided to lodge a police complaint soon. It appears that a huge racket is operating in producing fake certificates, as part of which bogus documents are printed in an unauthorised manner,” he said.
On the demand for a CBI probe into the matter, he said it was up to the police to take a call. About the possibility of the involvement of UoP insiders in the racket, the V-C said the police probe would expose those involved in the racket.
Dhananjay Kulkarni, convener of advocacy group Vidyapeeth Vikas Manch (VVM), accused the UoP administration of failing to take strong measures to prevent any such irregularity. “In past, the auditors have raised objections several times about discrepancies in the number of certificates printed and actually utilised. Such unaccounted certificates can be used for running rackets. Also, there has been instances of theft of seals and stamps of the university, whose investigation never reached a logical end. Had these lapses been avoided, the university would not have faced any racket involving certificates,” he said.
Kulkarni also raised objections over appointment of contractual employees for confidential work in the examination department. “In the past, the senate had resolved against such appointments. Despite this, the university continues to appoint employees on contract basis for examination-related work,” he said.
The fake marksheet racket and possible involvement of some insiders have come as yet another major embarrassment for the UoP. In the latest case, it was found that first-year MBA question paper was leaked before May 10 examination and was making rounds through WhatsApp Messenger a few hours before the examination. Two accused, including a university staffer, were arrested in the case. Among other recent major embarrassments, UoP had witnessed the ‘cash for marks’ scam in 2012, which had alleged involvement of seven university staffers.