The Bathinda police claim to have busted a fake degree racket by arresting three men and recovering around 350 fake certificates from them on Friday.
The police have arrested the men from Karnal in Haryana and from Bathinda and Amritsar. The police claimed that the nexus was operating since 2012 and had duped thousands of gullible students in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan.
Two Bathinda youths, Varinder Singh and Gurpreet Singh, were the whistleblowers in the case as they had approached the police after they were provided fake degrees of graduation by a Bathinda-based agent.
The three accused have been identified as Tarsem Garg, who runs a coaching centre in Bathinda; Raman Kashyap, kingpin of the gang; and Pawan Kumar, a web designer.
SSP Swapan Sharma said the accused provided fake degrees not only in the name of fake universities, but also in the name of universities recommended by University Grants Commission (UGC). “The accused used to charge between Rs 35,000 and Rs 50,000 per degree for matriculation certificate, diploma, graduation and post-graduation degrees,” the SSP said. The police have also recovered computers and printers used for printing the fake degrees.
Sharma said the police had received the information a month and a half ago and were investigating the matter. “On a tip-off, the police conducted raids in Karnal and Bathinda and recovered hundreds of certificates from the accused. On verification, the documents were found to be forged,” the SSP said.
The police said that after charging students according to their requirements, the accused registered the candidates with the respective universities and issued them fake admit cards.
“There was no need to take the exam as the accused provided fake degrees to candidates through mail. The accused provided degrees in the name of eight universities situated outside Punjab,” he said, adding that they also provided degrees in the name of ‘Delhi Board of Senior Secondary Education’, which had no authenticity.
The police have not ruled out the role of officials of these universities in the nexus. “Five teams of Punjab Police have been sent to Meerut, Delhi and Guwahati for investigation to expose the role of universities in the nexus,” the SSP said.
The police are trying to contact the candidates issued certificates through these people.