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Scam sparks campus caution
 

The universities of Calcutta and Jadavpur have decided to investigate all inquiries that the two institutions have received over the past several months concerning a few hundred marksheets and various certificates, on the basis of which their holders have landed themselves jobs.

“We have no option but to initiate an investigation,” Calcutta University (CU) vice-chancellor Asish Kumar Banerjee said on Tuesday.

“Almost every week, we find various organisations approaching us with queries relating to the authenticity of marksheets presented to them by people recruited for certain posts or selected for career advancement,” he pointed out.

Clearly, CU’s decision stems from the Mukti Deb forged marksheet scandal rocking Visva-Bharati and leading to the arrest of Dilip Sinha, former vice-chancellor of the university. The scam has threatened to draw many others into its vortex.

All CU departments dealing with the issuance of marksheets, certificates and migration certificates at both undergraduate and post-graduate levels have been asked to be extra cautious whenever they deal with queries relating to the authenticity of the documents.

“We began the process a few months ago, after Visva-Bharati established contact with us to get a confirmation about Mukti Deb’s marksheets. We will now send the official circular asking the departments to be cautious,” vice-chancellor Banerjee said.

The vice-chancellors of both universities have decided to hold a meeting soon to increase coordination, particularly when a student of one university seeks to migrate to another.

“We will able to detect the irregularities at an early stage if the universities vet the details offered by students when they switch over from one university to another,” Banerjee said.

Jadavpur University (JU), too, is working out ways of checking irregularities. “We are trying to find out how Deb was able to get admission to our M.Sc course and also how she was granted the migration certificate on the basis of fake marksheets,” said Rajat Banerjee, JU registrar.

“We have cautioned the departments dealing with queries relating to authenticity of marksheets to be more careful from now on when they check documents,” the registrar added.

The Visva-Bharati scam revealed that Deb, now in the custody of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), had managed to become a mathematics teacher of Visva-Bharati on the strength of fake marksheets of CU and JU.

This has prompted many in academic circles to question if their examination systems are at all foolproof.

“This is a glaring example of systemic failure. The entire examination system in the universities needs to be revamped,” asserted Sunanda Sanyal, a former vice-chancellor.

Pradeep Dutta, who teaches physics at Presidency College, said that the authorities of both universities ought to have been more alert and vigilant. “It is high time that the university authorities plugged the loopholes in the system,” said Dutta.

The two universities have decided to be more vigilant while recruiting their own staff as well, and have alerted officials of their recruitment sections to crosscheck all papers produced by a prospective candidate.

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