Tribune News Service
Solan, March 23
The Baddi police have busted a fake degree racket while investigating a case of a clone website registered on the complaint of Barotiwala-based IEC University in December 2020. A special investigation team (SIT) led by the SDPO, Baddi, has arrested five members of a gang involved in providing fake degrees of various universities, HP Education Board as well as professional institutions of Himachal and other states.
Baddi SP Rohit Malpani said today that Manish Kumar (32), a resident of Fazilka (Punjab), and Archana Singh (31), a resident of Mirzapur in Uttar Pradesh, were arrested recently, while Inan Ahmed (34) of Bihar, and Mohammed Salim (29) and Bharti, both residents of Delhi, were arrested in February.
He said that the SIT had also recovered a large number of blank marksheets and degrees of various universities, including four or five in Himachal, HP State Education Board as well as professional institutes of Himachal and other states such as Punjab offering courses in B.Tech, ayurveda, MBBS, physiotherapy, MBA, and law. The stamps of officials of several institutes and universities had also been seized.
Police sources said that the gang bought domain names matching the universities from the domain register company, GoDaddy. Archana Singh was instrumental in making payments through credit cards to the company.
They said that the gang used at least 100 matching websites of various institutes and universities in various states. They operated through a call centre at Noida and telecallers sought the details of degrees required and also provided information on payment. The racket came to light when one such degree on verification by a university located in the Barotiwala industrial area was found to be fake.
The gang also operated through agents in various states. Agent Manish Kumar, who was arrested in Fazilka, had sought two degrees of professional courses of 2014-2015 and 2019-2020 academic years from them. The police raided his computer centre and recovered key evidence. Police officials said that a probe was underway and more links would emerge as the investigation progresses.
“A company named Ample Themes had illegally created the website. When the matter came to our notice, we warned the company through a letter on November 15, 2019, but it did not discontinue the website,” the university registrar had said.
Clone website of Barotiwala varsity
A case of a clone website of IEC University, Barotiwala, being operated by a company came to light last year. The official website of the university is www.iecuniversity.com but another website, with the domain name www.iecuniversity.org, carrying its logo and other details was being operated illegally.
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