September 11, 2020 11:06:47 pm
A Solan-based university involved in the alleged fake degree racket could possibly have given out lakhs of fake degrees over the years, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur informed the state Legislative Assembly on Friday.
The state police unearthed the racket at Manav Bharti University in March and has so far arrested five people in connection with the case, he said. Two of the prime accused – chairperson Raj Kumar Rana and registrar KK Singh – are currently in judicial custody while three others are out on bail.
“A large number of fake degrees have been distributed. We have learnt that the number…could be in lakhs. In some cases, students were being charged for courses for which the university had no permission,” Thakur said.
In a written reply presented in the House during this session, the state government said that investigation into the case has indicated that fake degrees were being awarded since 2009.
“If these allegations are found to be true, there can be no bigger crime and the government will ensure strictest legal action against the culprits. Such businesses have no scope of existing in Himachal Pradesh,” Thakur told the House.
The chief minister was responding to the issue raised by Sujanpur MLA Rajinder Rana, who alleged that crores of rupees have been found in the bank accounts of the accused.
Thakur replied that investigators have raised the matter with the Enforcement Directorate and the income tax department, and a 19-member special investigation team (SIT) is currently probing the case.
Rana also alleged that the university started functioning from its campus in Laddo village in Solan without obtaining the necessary land clearances from the government. He has also received emails from genuine students who passed out of the university but whose degrees are now under a cloud. “The university had separate floors for genuinely enrolled students and those who were getting fraudulent degrees. During their raids at the university’s sister concern in Rajasthan, the police have found blank answer sheets with marks such as ’40 out of 50′ written on them,” he claimed.
The CM said that the government will try to ensure that the genuine students are not affected by the scandal.
Man shot dead over land dispute
Leader of Opposition and Haroli MLA Mukesh Agnihotri raised the issue of a recent murder in his constituency in a calling attention notice moved under Rule 62 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business.
Ashwini, a patwarkhana chowkidar, was murdered in Bhadsali village in Una on Sunday as a fallout of an ongoing land dispute between two families. Work on an irrigation channel in the disputed land triggered a fight between two groups during which Ashwini was shot dead with a gun.
Drawing attention to the “deteriorating law and order” in his constituency, Agnihotri compared the case to the one in which a government official was shot dead while conducting a demolition drive in Kasauli. He also recounted other incidents from his area. The chief minister replied that all four accused in the murder case have been arrested and the murder weapon recovered.
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