Patna, Sept. 11: Bihar information commissioner Farzand Ahmad has ordered the Magadh University registrar to examine the authenticity of a BA degree awarded to Mohali superintendent of po-lice Parampal Singh Gandhi.
“He obtained his sociology degree from Kisan College at Saursarai in Nalanda. Gandhi claimed to be a student of the 1987-89 batch. It was a two-year course then. He said he had obtained the degree in 1991, as the exams had been delayed,” said Arun Kumar, who represented the varsity before the commission.
Gandhi, however, dismissed the charges. He told The Telegraph: “The matter is 24 years old. It has been invested 10 times by the home department and even the court has dismissed the charge. The university has written several times to the department. If the university has issued a degree, it should verify it. I had written to the Bihar Information Commission that any detail regarding me should not be given to a third party without taking me into confidence.”
“According to a letter by the college principal, there was no student by that name and sociology was not included then among the varsity courses. The degree holder’s certificate bears the signature of J. Ahmad as the vice-chancellor (VC) of Magadh University (MU). The university never had a VC by that name,” added Arun.
“Several documents were presented before the commission and statements given by the varsity authorities cast a doubt over his degree,” said Ahmad.
In 2007, in response to a Right To Information (RTI) query, the then examination controller, Deepak Kumar, had confirmed that Gandhi was not a student of the university. He also expressed surprise as to how his name figured in the varsity’s tabulation register. He had ordered a probe in the matter.
Anil Kumar Bhanot, a police inspector posted in Ludhiana, said: “Punjab University’s records reveal that Gandhi was a BA Part-II student in 1992. How could he be a student of two varsities simultaneously?”
He added that a senior police officer of Punjab cadre hailing from Bihar had conducted a probe into a fake degrees held by police officers. The investigation led to the dismissal of two officers. “Somehow Gandhi was spared because of his connections. A few months back, he produced a letter from an examination controller of Kisan College, which said he was a student of the college,” Bhanot said. He alleged that in the 1990s, a lot of police recruitments in Punjab and Haryana were done based on degrees from universities in Bihar.
In 2000, Manoje Nath, who retired as a director-general of police this year, was asked to probe irregularities at MU after Sikha Gupta, the wife of an IPS officer was awarded a first class first in the history MA examination. It was alleged that Sikha appeared for only one paper out of the eight.
“I spoke to a few officers who were posted there in various capacities. Since these instances are being given only to make a point and to establish the context and also because these people were not warned that this will form part of the report, their names are being withheld. A former deputy inspector-general of police, Magadh range, claimed to have been offered a blank form by the university. An LLB degree could be his by merely signing it, he was told. He of course, declined the offer as he already had an LLB degree. A reserve sergeant major acquired a PhD for himself. An officer, now in a fairly senior position on deputation to the Union government had a similar experience when he was in Gaya. Even the present superintendent of police was offered a PhD degree when he was posted as an assistant superintendent of police (under training). The list is endless,” he wrote in his report.
Manoje’s report also said: Some of the colleges of Magadh University, one suspects are being run like profit centres. They award their degrees on a cash-and-carry basis. When challenged, they are in no position to account for the names, parentage, address, educational qualification etc. of their alumni any more than the retail outlets of McDonald’s or Pizza Hut can furnish such details of their customers.
The Raj Bhavan, however, rejected the report.
This is not the first time MU has been charged with issuing fake degrees. Earlier this year, a person was arrested in Hyderabad for selling bachelor degrees for Rs 30,000. MU degrees also figured in the list of the seized ones.