The fault lines run deep and wide — from forged notes to fraudulent bank papers to fake marksheets.
In what appears to be a season of scams and busts, the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) has blown the lid off a fake marksheet racket, suspected to run into lakhs. Two key figures in the scandal, accused of working the distribution chain, were arrested late on Wednesday.
According to Raj Kanojia, deputy inspector-general (CID), the forgers were caught red-handed from Uttarpara, on a tip-off. They were picked up while distributing fake marksheets of Madhyamik 2003 to six ‘candidates’. Anant Upadhyay and Chandan Roy were arrested on the spot but two associates, who had taken up position in a nearby shop, managed to flee the cop net.
“We have information that this racket has been operating in and around Calcutta for more than five years now. When we heard that they would be distributing fake documents in Uttarpara, one of the hubs of the racket, plainclothes officials waited near the PCO booth owned by Upadhyay. As soon as the ‘clients’ arrived and they started distributing the marksheets, our men arrested two of them,” Kanojia said.
According to a CID source, each marksheet was sold at anything between Rs 6,000 and Rs 10,000. The kingpin, who is on the run, is said to enjoy political patronage.
“For the sake of investigation, we cannot reveal his name. He is reported to have contacts with a few influential persons and also operates in neighbouring states like Bihar,” said a senior official of the CID.
Preliminary investigations revealed that many private educational institutions are hand-in-glove with the gang. “They procure these false marksheets and lure students who have not done well in their Class X examinations but are capable of paying a fee for a face-saver. These study centres promise to get these candidates admitted to reputed institutions around the country on the strength of these fake marksheets, carrying high marks,” the official added.
The CID is probing every aspect of the case and the sustained interrogation of the two accused is expected to throw up some vital leads. Both Upadhyay and Roy have confessed to their crime but have also given contradictory statements.
The racket is said to have invaded even the police force, with some recruits having used fake marksheets to appear for the examinations for the posts of home-guards and constables.
Sleuths are now headed for Bihar and other neighbouring states. More raids will be carried out in and around Calcutta.