The Bathinda police claimed to have busted a fake certificates and degrees racket by arresting four members of the gang on Tuesday.
The police have confiscated 272 fake certificates of various courses allegedly issued in the name of 13 different universities and school boards.
The accused have been identified as Harsh Kumar and Davinder Singh of Bathinda, Ashok Kumar of Fatehabad and Tarsem Garg alias Prince of Sirsa in Haryana.
The police also recovered two laptops, two printer-cum-scanners and stamps of several universities and school boards from their possession.
Superintendent of police (city) Balraj Singh Sidhu said the matter came to light when Bathinda resident Sandeep Kumar, also a complainant in the case, approached the police and told them about activities of the gang.
“To substantiate his claims, the complainant himself got a fake certificate of senior secondary issued from the gang at ₹ 6,000 and presented it before the police,” Sidhu said.
The police arrested both Harsh and Davinder, who run a IELTS coaching centre in Bathinda, on Monday. “The gang used to charge up to ₹20,000 for a fake certificate. During investigation, it came to the fore that the certificates were prepared by co-accused Ashok and Tarsem at Sirsa. However, they also prepared fake certificates at their own IELTS centre,” he said.
The police have registered a case under sections 420(cheating), 467(forgery), 468(forgery for purpose of cheating), 471(using as genuine a forged document) and 120B(conspiracy) of Indian Penal Act.
“We are investigating how long they had been operating in the region. Moreover, we are trying to contact the candidates, who were issued certificates by them,” he said.
Not the first case
In March last year, the police arrested three persons and recovered around 350 fake certificates. The nexus had been operating since 2012 and had duped thousands of gullible students in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan.
The accused provided fake degrees not only in the name of fake universities, but also in the name of universities recommended by the University Grants Commission (UGC). The accused used to charge between ₹35,000 and ₹50,000 per matriculation certificate, diploma, graduation and post-graduation degrees.