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Private varsity owner held for forgery

Gangtok, May 7: Police in Sikkim and Bengal have arrested the chairman, vice-chancellor, registrar and the controller of examinations of a private Sikkim university for fraudulently issuing a marksheet and certificate of a course that is not taught at the institution.

The police said EIILM University that has its campus at Jorethang in the South district had issued a certificate to a girl from outside Sikkim saying she had obtained a master’s degree in education.

“The university had issued a certificate of Master in Education to a girl from outside Sikkim who had never attended the university. The girl applied for a post of lecturer in a university in Chandigarh. The university wrote a letter (attached with the documents) to Sikkim police for verification. During the verification it was learnt that the course is not taught here,” said a senior police officer.

EIILM, which has 275 students, claims on its website that it is a UGC-approved university. Its chairman, Vinay Kumar Rai, is also the owner of the university.

The first arrests — of vice-chancellor O.V. Vijayan, registrar Col (retired) Alok Bhandari and controller of examinations Vijay Dahiya — were made yesterday in Jorethang.

Rai, 65, was arrested today at Bagdogra airport when he was about to fly out of Siliguri. The Sikkim police had alerted their counterparts at Bagdogra.

The senior police officer in Sikkim, who did not want to be named, said that among the papers sent by the university in Punjab was a letter attached to the girl’s certificate that had Rai’s signature endorsing that the certificate was a valid one.

The university, which offers graduation and master’s courses in science, commerce, arts, management and also degrees in fashion and hospitality, has been under the scanner for alleged marksheet fraud earlier too.

The secretary of the state human resource development department, C.S. Rao, said studies in the university would not be hampered.

“The police are investigating the matter and we (department) will be able to comment only after the investigation is over,” Rao said.

Last September, the police raided the EIILM office in Jorethang after allegations that the university was handing out certificates in a fraudulent manner.

The police are still investigating the earlier case of cheating and forgery registered at Jorethang police station.

“The three arrests (in Jorethang) were made in connection to a case registered with Gangtok Sadar police station. They were picked up from the university campus in the evening and brought to Gangtok,” said police spokesperson Mandeep Singh Tuli.

A case of forgery, cheating and criminal conspiracy have been registered against the four university officials.

“The three were later granted bail,” said the senior police officer.