Calcutta, Jan. 16: One out of 10 mark sheets is turning out to be forged, a senior Calcutta University official has said.
'What we are witnessing is unprecedented,' said university registrar Ujwal Basu. 'Mark sheets bearing the CU logo, departmental stamp and signature of the official concerned, in the format followed by our university, are circulating in the market.'
All such cases are being handed over to the detective department.
University authorities are verifying mark sheets on request from organisations to confirm the authenticity of the documents produced by potential recruits.
Requests are also coming from educational institutions. Of late, the university's own screening system, beefed up after the recent scandal where a teacher at Visva-Bharati University was found to have a fake mark sheet, has traced several forgeries.
'The incidence of mark sheet forgery is soaring,' said Peeyush Pandey, deputy commissioner of the detective department, but refused to elaborate on the number of cases the police have received from the university.
'Our findings are that several rackets, well entrenched in Bihar and Jharkhand, are at work, tapping the lucrative Calcutta market,' he said.
'One is looking at a market of several crores of rupees,' said an investigator. 'A forged mark sheet, depending upon the desperation of the buyer, can fetch Rs 25,000-30,000.'
Officials attached to the controller of examinations said they have detected cases where students have succeeded in enrolling for postgraduate courses of Calcutta University as well as in many undergraduate colleges affiliated to it.
'The scale of operation, the application of technology is amazing,' said an official. 'The difference between the real and the forged ones will most certainly escape untrained eyes,' said Onkar Sadhan Adhikary, the controller of examinations.
University authorities are planning surprise inspections of mark sheets both at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, rechecking the authenticity of mark sheets of teachers and employees at random and increasing exchange of information with other institutions.
As a precaution, he said, all university departments and offices and undergraduate colleges affiliated to the university have been asked to be more than cautious before accepting mark sheets of candidates during admissions as well as recruitment.
'Through our drive, we can check one from managing a seat in a course or a job in our institution by presenting a forged mark sheet,' said an official. 'But it is difficult to keep track of people who never studied at CU, yet managed to move forward in life on the basis of forged CU mark sheets.'