Major fake-degree scam waiting to rock J&K soon

Jammu, Aug 20: A major fake degree scam is going to hit Jammu and Kashmir very soon as the allegedly fictitious degrees issued by a Mumbai-based institute are put to scrutiny by the investigating agencies as per the All J&K Mechanical Engineering Graduates Association, Jammu

According to the letter, dozens of in-service diploma engineers in the J&K’s Mechanical Engineering Department are alleged to acquire fake degrees from Institute of Mechanical Engineers (IME), Mumbai and bypassed the engineering degree holders during promotions.

The matter was brought into the light on December 12, 2013 during the tenure of Chief Minister Omar Abdullah by the association. To authenticate its claim, the association had pinned the alleged fake degrees of several diploma engineers with the letter which they had submitted to the Chief Minister. Although he was expected to refer the letter to the State Vigilance Organisation or the Crime Branch of State Police for a thorough probe but to their surprise, he did not take any decision over that.

” It is surprising to see that some in-service diploma (civil) engineers have managed to acquire fake mechanical degrees from IME, Mumbai. On the basis of these degrees, they even have got promotions from JE to AE, AE to AEE and, in one case, from AEE to executive engineer,” a December 9, 2013, letter No MEGA/456-58 of the association, which was submitted to Omar, alleged.

The letter also stated that the degree from IME, Mumbai was also not recognised by J&K Government as per its SRO No 297, universities of Kashmir and Jammu, J&K SSRB, J&K PSC and AICTE (All India Council for Technical Education. “The only institute, which can update diploma engineers to graduate engineers is the Institute of Engineers, Kolkata. It issues them degrees after they pass Sec A and Sec B of AMIE in all the branches,” it added.

The J&K Higher Education Department also does not recognise such degrees, including those of M.Phil. and Ph.D. An August 18, 2009 letter No Edu-Coll/Coord/142/2008 addressed by MA Chishti, then Deputy Secretary of Higher Education Department, to then PSC Secretary, said: “The degrees obtained through distance mode, except from IGNOU and DOACE, shall not be entertained as the same are not recognised by the universities of Kashmir and Jammu.”

AICTE too has made its stand clear on the issue. An August 22, 2012 letter No F/AD(Acad)/Recog/2012/747, which was addressed by AICTE’s then Assistant Director (Academics) Anand Kumar to then Deputy Director of Stores Procurement Department, Bikram Chowk, Jammu, says: “It has been the policy of AICTE not to recognise the qualification acquired through distance education mode at diploma, bachelor’s and master’s levels in the fields of engineering technology, architecture, town planning, pharmacy, hotel management and catering technology, applied arts and crafts and PGDM. Courses run by IME (India), Mumbai, through distance education mode are hence not approved/recognised by AICTE. So the question of recognising the certificates issued by IME, if are equivalent to degree in engineering, does not arise. As per the existing policy of AICTE, the requests received for granting equivalence to degree courses for academic purpose will be referred to Association of Indian Universities/University Grants Commission. The requests received for granting equivalence to degree courses for employment purpose will be left to the discretion of employer.”

A double bench of Punjab and Haryana High Court had also declared “the degree of IME, Mumbai, as not equivalent to the regular degrees in engineering”, according to the association’s letter.

Quoting SRO 297, the association said “the qualification required for becoming a junior engineer is a regular full time 4-year degree course in engineering from a recognised university or passing Sec A and Sec B of AMIE from Institute of Engineers, Kolkata, in any branch of engineering”, regretting that the authorities concerned in the Civil Secretariat, who were legally bound to look into the rules, allegedly “ignore the rules to give benefits to the in-service diploma engineers who have acquired degrees through unfair means from IME, Mumbai”.

The association had also attached with the letter, which it had submitted to Omar, a list of the diploma engineers who allegedly have acquired fake degrees from IME, Mumbai.

The letter said Jagjit Singh (Membership No 28547, Roll No SB-173004), Prem Singh Jamwal (Membership No 28548, Roll No SB-173006) and Pardeep Kumar Sharma (Membership No 28549, Roll No SB-173005) passed the examination in 1995 but degrees were issued to them after 10 years.

Mohammad Tariq Raina’s Roll No is 173014 and that of Jagjeet Singh Raina is 173015 but there is a huge difference in their membership numbers. While the Membership No of Jagjeet is 17715, that of Tariq is 35664. “While both of them got themselves registered on the same day, how can there be a difference of over 17,000 candidates between them? This hints at something fishy in the operations of IME, Mumbai,” the letter said, adding that both of them are shown in the IME, Mumbai, records to have passed the degree in December 1996.

Rakesh Bhatti’s Membership No is 30606 and that of Mohan Lal Saini is 51636 but Roll No of the former is 173007 and that of the latter is 43058. “While there is a difference of over 21,000 candidates in their memberships, the difference between roll numbers stands at over 1.3 lakh. This is unbelievable and shows that the numbers are fake,” the association alleged.

According to the letter, both of them passed the degree in December 1998 but the degrees were issued to them surprisingly in 1999 and 2003 respectively.

In the case of Kanwal Kumar Chopra, Om Prakash Gupta and Ashok Singh Choudhary also, the difference between their membership numbers and roll numbers “arouse suspicion” about the operations of MIE, Mumbai, the letter alleged.

The institute’s operations create further doubts about the genuineness of degrees issued by it. Roll No 1700008 of Raj Kumar Kohli, who passed the degree in December 2001, comes after the roll numbers of Rajeev Gupta (1700002) and Dil Bahadur Singh (1700003), who are shown to have passed their degrees in 2002, ie an year after Kohli. “This again is doubtful,” the letter felt.

In the case of Kewal Krishan and Dalip Wali also, there is a big difference in membership numbers despite the fact that both of them passed the degree in 2002.

Raj Kumar (Roll No SB-3500057) and Kirpal Singh (Roll No SB-400179) passed the degree in 2003 but the difference between their roll numbers is of nearly 31 lakh candidates which is just unbelievable. Under no circumstances can there be a difference of 31 lakh candidates between the two persons who are shown to have passed the degree in the same year, the letter says.

There is also a big difference between the roll numbers of Shiv Dass Abrol (SB-0400004) and Rajesh Sharma (SB-040006) who passed in the same year, ie December 2004.

Astonishingly, there is no mention of the date of issuance of degrees in the case of Karan Beroria (Roll No SB-0400192), Devinder Kumar Bhasin (Roll No SB-0400039), Rakesh Kumar Bargotra (Roll No SB-0400040), Anil Kumar Pandoh (Roll No SB-0400041), Charan Dass (Roll No SB-3500023), Anil Dev Singh (Roll No SB-3500024), Paramveer Singh (Roll No SB-3500028), Khurshid Ahmad Bhat (Roll No SB-3500029), Jyoti Prasad (Roll No SB-0400174), Kulwant Singh (Roll No SB-3500023), Bhupinder Singh (Roll No SB-3500022), Khurshid Islam (Roll No SB-04000065), Rajeshwar Singh (Roll No SB-0400127), Rajinder Paul (Roll No SB-0400128) and Kuldeep Singh (Roll No SB-3500057).

While Charan Dass passed his degree in December 2007 and Kulwant Singh in June 2008, their roll numbers are surprisingly the same.

“If all these degrees are examined properly and an impartial probe is conducted into the whole matter, the Government may unearth the biggest ever fake degree scam in the  State,” the association said.

(with inputs form early times)

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