Investigation into a ‘fake doctors’ racket has led CID officials to a ‘fake medical board’, which provided counterfeit degrees to a huge number of dropouts and foreign students, and the kingpin’s arrest from the Kolkata airport. Based on a tip-off from Chennai airport officials, key accused Ramesh Chandra Baidya (52), a resident of Noapara, Barasat, was arrested at the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport on Thursday night. He was nabbed from seat no. 21A of an Indigo aircraft immediately after it landed, said an official.
Agency sources said the accused held the post of secretary at the ‘Alternative Medical Council Calcutta’ in Barasat. He was arrested under sections 419 (cheating by personation), 420 (cheating), 465 (forgery), 467 (forgery for valuable security), 468 (documents of electronic record forged), 471 (using forged document as genuine), 472 (making or possessing counterfeit seal), 474 (forgery) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC.
Sources further said that Baidya was the “kingpin” of a “fake medical council” which operated under the banner of the ‘Alternative Medical Council Calcutta’, which provides bogus MBBS (AM), BDS, BHMS, BAMS, GNM, ANM, PhD, DMLT, X-Ray technician and veterinary degrees, even providing affiliations to various “fake” medical colleges under its banner, which is spread across India and abroad. CID officials said Baidya had managed to escape on Tuesday when his Barasat office was raided, and had been absconding since then. However, on Thursday, officials received inputs that Baidya had collected a SpiceJet boarding pass from Chennai airport and was about to land at 5 pm in Kolkata.
“He is a smart cheater. He offloaded himself to evade arrest and then booked a ticket for an Indigo flight. Due to an error in the server, we received information at around 8.30 pm that he had boarded the flight. He was then arrested here,” a CID official told The Indian Express. According to agency sources, Baidya has provided fake degrees to a huge number of foreign students coming in from the USA, Italy, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, Russia, Malaysia and Africa in exchange for money. The price of a fake degree would run into lakhs, varying from client to client, and Baidya would allegedly charge “an extra Rs 10,000 for a gold medal”. The accused had been involved in the racket for the last 30 years. “Degrees were made available for clients within minutes in exchange for money,” said an official.
Khushinath Halder, one of the three “fake” doctors previously arrested by the CID, allegedly collected his forged certificates from Baidya. Sleuths have seized a server corroborating these claims, an official confirmed to The Indian Express. Baidya has been booked in two cases — one at Saltlake Electronics Complex police station (on complaint filed by registrar of the West Bengal Medical Council) and another at South Bidhannagar police station (on complaint filed by senior officials of Swasthya Bhavan). The WBMC registrar’s complaint, filed on April 24, had stated that the ‘Alternative Medical Council Calcutta’ was “fake”. On the basis of the complaint, a CID team had on May 23 raided its premises, seizing around 560 fake marksheets and student records from a hard disc.