Fake school board based in Delhi cheated 20,000 people around the country, say police

The fake school board had regional offices across the country through which it issued certificates allegedly in connivance of government officials.

delhi Updated: Dec 08, 2017 23:13 IST
Shubhomoy Sikdar
Shubhomoy Sikdar
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Fake school board,Board of Higher Secondary Education Delhi,Delhi Police
The Delhi Police busted a fake education board running in the name of Board of Higher Secondary Education Delhi, on Friday.(Sushil Kumar/HT Photo)

Delhi Police have arrested six persons for allegedly running a fake education board, which issued thousands of fake school certificates and college degrees that helped young men and women get jobs. The board even granted affiliation to over 300 schools across India, police said.

At least 17,000 fake and forged marksheets, degrees, admit cards and certificates bearing the names of several universities and schools were among the documents seized by the police from Delhi and Lucknow, places where the gang mainly operated from.

Joint commissioner of police (eastern range) Ravindra Yadav said the gang members have told them that a lot of their clients ended up with private and government jobs with the help of the fake documents. Some of them even managed to obtain passports for foreign jobs using the degrees and certificates provided by the gang.

Police said they were in the process of trying to identify people who might have benefitted from the racket and claimed that such people will lose their degrees, jobs or affiliation and may even face criminal charges.

The accused were running the racket under the guise of ‘Board of Higher Secondary Education, Delhi’, a fictional name concocted by them. Their website claimed to have the recognition of the Union ministry of human resources, the National Council of Educational Research and Training and various other state education boards.

The home page of the website, which has since been pulled down, also claimed to have recognition of the ministry of education, government of India, an entity which does not exist , the police added.

Shiv Prasad Pandey, the chairman of the fake school board, in Delhi Police custody on Friday. (Sushil Kumar/HT Photo)

An official from the Union HRD ministry said the ministry cannot grant permission to establish any school education board.

“There is no system where the ministry certifies a board. It can only be established by a state government by passing a law in their legislatures,” the official said.

The schools affliated to the fake board were located mainly in small towns and were targeted through newspaper advertisements. The affiliations cost the school anywhere between Rs 10,000 and Rs 2 lakh.

DCP Yadav said the arrested men includes one Shiv Prasad Pandey, who identified himself as the chairman of the board. A medical practitioner turned criminal, 65-year-old Pandey has confessed to be running the gang since 2011.

Pandey said he took over from the racket from another alleged fraudster, Mange Ram Acharya, who is currently lodged in a Rajasthan jail in connection with a cheating case.

Investigations are also probing the role of a third person who allegedly introduced Pandey to the racket and was said to be calling the shots.

“The network is spread all over India and the possibility of the involvment of officials of state education department and other government departments cannot be ruled out,” said Yadav.

The racket was unearthed after a 20-year-old woman approached the police with a complaint in September this year. “On September 11, the Geeta Colony resident told us that she had approached one Prashant Solanki for a Class X certificate. He charged her Rs 5,000 and provided her the certificate, marksheet and a complete set of supporting documents. She grew suspicious as she had not appeared for any examination and came to us with the documents,” said DCP (Shahdara) Nupur Prasad.

The police initiated a probe and wrote to the HRD ministry only to find that a board by the name of Board of Higher Secondary Education, Delhi, did not exist.

“Prashant was called for questioning and with his help, we arrested the other members of the racket,” said Prasad.

First Published: Dec 08, 2017 21:49 IST