JAMMU: Crime Branch investigations into the alleged fake-degree scam of IGNOU has zeroed in on a government teacher, Bhopinder Gupta, who is believed to be the mastermind in fabricating, luring and extorting the degree seekers.
Sensational disclosures are likely with regard to high ups patronizing the dubious study centre.
As reported, thousands of youth have procured their Post Graduation degrees and diplomas from the IGNOU’s Billawar Study Centre, in lieu of Rs 30,000 to Rs 40,000 per degree holder without appearing in examination. Sources told STATE TIMES that Bhopinder came in contact with a Kishtwar-based contractor Prashant Bandari, a close aide of IGNOU’s senior officers in Jammu and New Delhi, and ran his dubious avocation in Jammu and Kashmir. The duo had stolen the qualification certificates of a government lecturer Rajiv Sharma and then applied for the IGNOU Study Centre at Machhidii, Billawar, which was operative since 2014, on Rajiv’s name.
Thereafter, Bhopinder and Prashant managed a fake PhD degree in favour of Rajiv Sharma from University of Jammu, as the eligibility for Coordinator of IGNOU’s Study Centre is prescribed M.Phill or Ph.d.
After applying for IGNOU’s Study Centre, a joint bank account was opened in the name of Rajiv Sharma and Parshant Bandari, son of Sehaj Ram Bandari, resident of Kishtwar. This account has been sealed by the Crime Branch. Even the mobile phone number being used by accused Bhopinder Gupta, son of Pannu Ram, resident of village Kohag Tehsil Billawar Kathua at present Bharat Nagar Talab Tillo Jammu, was registered in the name of Rajiv Sharma.
Bhopinder Gupta who was posted in a government school in Hiranagar had managed his posting in the office of the Chief Education Officer last month.
“The accused teacher Bhopinder managed his posting to Jammu from Kathua district in violation of the transfer policy,” said CB investigators, adding “His mobile location had all along been traced at Directorate of School Education’s (DSE’s) office in Jammu during the preliminary investigations last month. And, within days he managed his posting to the office of Chief Education Officer (CEO Jammu by bribing the DSE office as transfers have been banned since April this year.
“Moreover, a primary school teacher cannot be posted outside the district”, the investigators said, wondering as to how Bhopinder Gupta managed lucrative posting in CEO’s office? The investigators, said indepth investigations are on in the scandal.
“Bhopinder wanted to operate the dubious IGNOU Centre from Jammu so he managed his posting to CEO’s office,” said members of J&K Govt Teachers’ Association.
CB team corroborated several theories to unravel the scandal, said a CB officer, adding the involvement of IGNOU staff is being ascertained as they never verified the authenticity of their Study Centre.
The process of ‘admissions and examination’ continued for the past four years. Rajiv Sharma was unaware of this nexus. The CB investigators ascertained his address after scrutinizing his qualification documents from J&K Board of School Education
Rajiv had told CB investigators that his documents might have been stolen from private tuition centres in Jammu where he was working before joining the government service. During the investigations, CB has procured a long list of beneficiaries, who are in possession of degrees from IGNOU’s headquarters at New Delhi. Post Graduation and specialization courses were available to all without attending classes and without appearing in examinations. This all was possible at IGNOU’s Billawar Centre, which was set up on papers only in 2014. All this was being managed from Jammu with the active connivance of the IGNOU staff, said CB investigators, adding “investigations into the scam are under process and many arrests are likely.
Yesterday, the CB registered FIR 16/18 under Sections of 419,420, 467, 468, 471,120-B RPC 5(2) PC Act in this regard.
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