An offence has been lodged against several persons — including the vice-chancellor, chief financial officer, head of the department of Arts and director of the creative educational foundation of the Spicer Adventist University — on charges of cheating the organisation. They have been accused of procuring fake PhD degrees and seeking promotions and financial gains on the basis of these degrees, between 2010 and 2013. Alan Almedia (53), a real estate broker and member of the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Aundh, has lodged the first information report in the case at the Chaturshringi police station. Police have booked the accused under sections 417, 465, 468, 471 of the Indian Penal Code.
In his complaint, Alan said he sought information under the Right to Information (RTI) Act about the PhD degrees of the accused from Spicer Adventist University in September and October 2017. The headquarters of the Seventh Day Adventist Church, located in Hosur, Tamil Nadu, said it will look into the matter. However, no action was taken, said the complainant, adding that he again filed an application under the RTI Act at the Spicer Adventist University on Aundh Road in January this year, seeking information regarding PhD documents of the accused.
But the organisation replied that it was a private body that received no funds from the government, so the RTI Act was not applicable to it. After Alan filed a complaint with the state government, the police started investigating the matter. The complaint alleges that the accused procured bogus PhD certificates in the name of a university based in Shimla and on the basis of the fake degrees, they are working in senior positions in the Spicer Adventist University on Aundh Road.