Tomar, law degree and dhoka

FAKE PAPERS: Minister'S arrest throws light on bogus certificate racket

Former Delhi Law Minister Jitender Singh Tomar’s arrest in a fake degree case has shifted institutional attention to the use of forged academic documents in city’s educational institutions.

This week, the police has busted a fake nursery admission racket and Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia has gone on record to admit that he made a mistake in handling the Tomar case.

“Yes you can say that now (that the Aam Aadmi Party made a mistake in handling the Tomar case). A mistake is a mistake. When we sought to clarify the allegations he showed us an RTI, a law degree and an affidavit, the only other thing left to do was to leave our work and go to the places to verify,” he tells CNN IBN in an interview on Friday.

Delhi Police are currently probing the possibility of ex-Law Minister’s association with a fake certificate racket under the garb of Universal Coaching Institute, which he ran near his residence in Shakur Basti.

The investigators are not only certain that Tomar’s degrees are bogus, but also have reason to believe that he played a significant role in “making such documents available to others”.

“We have received inputs about the possibility of a racket pertaining to fake certificates. He allegedly used to procure those at varying prices for students who had failed any of the final exams from classes 10 to 12,” says a police officer.

According to a source, Tomar shelled out Rs 2 lakh for his BSc degree.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Delhi Police unearthed more than 300 fake nursery admissions through the quota for poor students in top Delhi schools and arrested four people in the racket.

The schools where fake admissions have been detected are Delhi Public School (Rohini, Vasant Kunj, R K Puram and Mathura Road), Modern School (Humayun Road), Lancer Convent, Ryan International School, Montfort School (Ashok Vihar), G D Goenka (Rohini), Vikas Bharti (Rohini), Bal Bharti School (Pitampura) and Heritage School (Rohini).

It was also found that multiple admissions had taken place in different schools on the basis of the same certificates and names of the students later changed.

During investigations, some of the parents revealed that several modules of touts were active across the capital to facilitate fake admissions.

“The gangs charged 3-10 lakh for each admission, and this was being done in collusion with the school administration,” the police official says.

The Delhi Government’s Directorate of Education (DoE) has taken out a circular cautioning schools against the menace of fake admissions, but private schools deny they were involved in running the racket.

However, schools are saying that the government’s inability to evolve a clear mechanism for checking fake documents, till as late as last month, has resulted in this mess.

DU on alert  

Cut to Delhi College of Arts and Commerce, one of the four students who was expelled on charges of submitting forged academic documents last month admitted to have paid Rs 17 lakh to a tout for securing admission.

The students – two each from BCom and BCom (Hons) – faced expulsion after the college found they had submitted fake marksheets.   

The students were enrolled in the last year’s academic session.

According to the college officials, the issue came to light when thorough checks were conducted to ascertain the authenticity of the documents submitted by the students.

To keep a check on forged documents, the administrative officers at colleges rely on information provided by the university in CDs, which contains information of Class 12 results of various state and central boards.  

For verification of the certificates submitted by students from Scheduled Castes (SCs), Scheduled Tribes (STs), and Other Backward Classes (OBCs), the colleges contact the issuing authorities.

As the DCAC gears up for the new academic session, it is considering hiring forensic experts to deal with fake admissions. Other colleges are likely to follow the suit.

According to the Delhi University officials, this was not a standalone incident. Last year, Shaheed Bhagat Singh College was rocked by a fake admission scam in which 18 students were implicated.

Similar cases of forged documents were reported from Ramjas College, Hindu College, Shaheed Bhagat Singh College and Sri Venkateswara College.

Delhi Police claims the problem is more rampant in South Campus colleges. The gangs demand anything between Rs 5 to Rs 10 lakh for an admission, depending on the profile and chosen course of the student.

They use various forged certificates like marksheets, caste certificates, physical disability certificates, and character and transfer certificates to facilitate admission.

DU officials say that admission through sports and extra-curricular activities (ECA) quota is also marred with irregularities.

As per the university’s exiting guidelines, the colleges under the said quota are allowed to admit up to 5 percent of its students.

In order to keep a check on the possible irregularities, the varsity has this year introduced a centralised fitness test.

For transparency sake, the university has also planned to upload the videographed sports trials on its website and set up grievance committees to ensure transparency in selection of students through sports quota.  

Medicos not immune

Churning out fake certificates is not uncommon in the medical fraternity either. While several illegal doctors who have not passed the MBBS programme practice medicine, there are registered doctors who also produce fake certificates to earn promotion.

“There are several cases in which MBBS doctors produce fake certificates to show that they have specialised in a specific branch of medicine. Also there are cases in which people produce forged certificates to get into the MBBS course, says Dr K K Aggarwal, Honourary Secretary, Indian Medical Association (IMA).

“Producing fake certificates is a crime both under the Indian penal Code and the MCI Act,” he adds.

If the doctor is found guilty, the licence can be immediately terminated, according to provisions in the Medical Council of India (MCI) Act.

Doctors are often found guilty of giving fake medical certificates to people who have not attended work.

This is a common practice and they often issue certificates in lieu of money or as a favour.

“It has become very common to issue medical certificates unscrupulously. The DMC has taken action in recent cases in which the doctors were found issuing fake medical certificates,” says Dr Anil Bansal, Anti-Quackery chairperson, Delhi Medical Council (DMC).

“According to the DMC guidelines, the doctor has to keep a duplicate copy of the certificate which also bears the sign of the recipient of the certificate,” he adds.

The most common cases in which fake certificates are being issued by doctors are for people procuring driving licences and for joining swimming classes.

Learners need to undergo a fitness test for colour blindness, deformity of limbs or auditory tests either.

It is mandatory to undergo medical tests before procuring a driving licence. Blank health certificates are also issued with stamp and signature.

“This is being run as a business by both illegal doctors and doctors,” says Dr Bansal.

Parents also often demand that children be given medical certificates for swimming classes.

“For coachings in NDMC or other government-run swimming pools, it is mandatory to produce certificates that the child is not suffering from any skin disease,” says Bansal.

“Parents demand that such certificates be issued unscrupulously and the doctors also succumb in lieu of some little money,” he adds.

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