A gang in Bengaluru which sold fake mark sheets of nearly 18 universities across the country on WhatsApp and other platforms has been arrested. The Central Crime Branch (CCB) of the Bengaluru police said Tuesday the gang operated in three places in the city and was creating fake mark sheets to sell them.
The arrested have been identified as Kishore, 40, Rajanna, 28, Shilpa, 27, and Sharadha, 30, who worked at Sri Venkateshwara Institute. The owner of the institute Srinivas Reddy from Andhra Pradesh and two others are absconding.
“The police have seized 1097 fake marks cards, seals and other related documents. We have also seized some hard disks, and PhD thesis books,” said Bengaluru city Police Commissioner C H Pratap Reddy.
The accused sold mark sheets of pre-University, BA, B Com, BSc, BBA, engineering, and MBA degrees from 18 universities across the country. They collected money ranging between Rs 50,000 to Rs 1,00,00 from aspirants and also sold PhD certificates for Rs 10 lakh to Rs 20 lakh. The police also found that they made some students write examinations and for some, they sent them the question and answer papers to their homes.
The incident came to light when an aspirant visited their office on November 2 at Mahalakshmi Layout in Bengaluru, seeking to take up the B Com exam. The staff assured him to provide him with the certificate and the aspirant paid them Rs 40,000.
When the aspirant asked when he had to appear for the exam, the staff told him there it won’t be necessary and someone would write it on his behalf and the mark sheet would be issued. On November 26, the aspirant received the first and second-year mark sheets and when he asked for a final year marks card, he was asked to pay the remaining Rs 60,000 and started demanding more money, a police official said. Suspecting he had fallen prey to cybercrime, he approached the cybercrime police and filed a complaint.
Pratap Reddy said three teams were formed and in a 12-hour operation, they were able to seize the documents from Marathahalli, Kodigehalli, and Mahalakshmi Layout.
According to police sources, Sri Venkateshwara Institute had a website where they advertised that they offer distance education. When the aspirants approached them, they were called to the office and told somebody else would write the exams for them for which they collected a huge sum of money. Many of the aspirants did not bother to verify the institute by going to its office but dealt with it virtually. The police added the accused staff sent the mark sheets through WhatsApp and other platforms once the money was paid.
The seized mark sheets were from Dr CV Raman University, Bilaspur, National Institute of Open Schooling, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka State Open University, William Carey University, Shillong, North East Frontier Technical University, Arunachal Pradesh, Calorx Teachers University, Gujarat, Swami Vivekananda Global University, West Bengal, Eastern Institute for Integrated Learning in Management, Sikkim, EIILM University, Sikkim, VS Prasanna Bharati University, Haryana, IEC University, Himachal Pradesh, among other institutes.
The police said they are now probing those who got these mark sheets and checking whether they used them for various purposes including jobs.