Bengaluru, which is home to some of the best academic and management institutions in the country, is fast becoming a hub for firms offering fake degree certificates. In fact, according to officials, this has become a small-scale industry. o
Last week, a team of Central Crime Branch (CCB) officers, acting on a tip-off, raided an education consulting firm on M.G. Road and arrested a 28-year-old man for allegedly selling fake marks cards to people.
Investigations revealed that the accused, Kunal Kumar Mondal, a native of Bihar, was living in Bengaluru since 2011 and had entered the business of printing fake academic credentials four years ago. The police believe that he had sold more than 2,000 fake certificates to his customers, for prices ranging from ₹1 lakh to ₹2 lakh. “This means there are many people who have got admission in private colleges or found employment in and around the city with fake degree certificates,” a senior police officer said. He added that while groups offering fake certificates was an old problem, over the past year there has been a spike in people joining the racket.
In April 2016, the CCB raided the office of a distance education centre in Tilak Nagar that was offering fake graduation and postgraduation certificates to students for anything between ₹30,000 and ₹50,000.
The kingpin, Ravi Kumar alias Ravi Raj, had allegedly been running the scam for the previous six years and used to offer fake certificates for 56 courses, including BA, B.Com, B.Sc, BBM, M.Com, MBA, MCA, LLM, and MA.
“These raids are just the tip of the iceberg, and there are many such firms and individuals forging certificates and selling them to customers willing to pay in lakhs for their ‘degrees’,” the officer said. “To save money and time, employers — especially small businesses — don’t always check a candidate’s credentials with the police, though it is mandatory.”
The officer added, “Going by the raids in the recent past, at least around 40,000 people are working in and around the city with fake certificates. Clients too are culpable as they fuel the demand. The police rarely get formal complaints and often take suo motu action.”