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Tech school in fake letters row

Bhubaneswar, Dec. 12: The department of technical education has approached the crime branch of police to probe the production of “two fake approval letters” of All-India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) by the Berhampur-based National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST).

The institute had allegedly forged AICTE letters and produced copies before the high court and the state government’s admission authorities to claim that it had the approval from the central council to start mechanical and electrical engineering courses for 60 seats each from this year.

On the basis of these documents, the institute was permitted to take students through Odisha Joint Entrance Examination (OJEE) counselling 2012 for mechanical and electrical engineering branches.

That the documents were allegedly forged came to light when a student of the college, pursuing mechanical discipline, lodged a complaint with the technical education department that the course did not have AICTE approval.

Based on information from AICTE, the student had blamed the state government for including the mechanical engineering seats of the institute in OJEE seat matrix.

The state government wrote to the AICTE in October last to ascertain the allegations. In its reply, AICTE has made it clear that it had not given any such approval to the NIST for mechanical and electrical engineering branches.

A senior official of the technical education department said: “We had initially refused to increase the intake and introduction of new disciplines by the institute for the 2012-13 session. It did not include the institute to allow admissions through OJEE counselling for the new branches. But several institutions, including NIST, had approached the high court and claimed that they had the necessary approval from AICTE. Subsequently, the high court directed the government to allow admission of students to these institutes through OJEE for their new courses.”

The official added that the department had now approached the crime branch to investigate the case. It has also moved the high court and asked the vice-chancellor Biju Patnaik University of Technology to take action against NIST.

Responding to the allegations, NIST authorities said that the application for approval that was submitted online could not reach the AICTE for certain technical glitches on their website. “However the matter has been resolved now and we have received AICTE’s approval letter last month,” said S.P. Das, a senior official of NIST.