Manhunt in Bokaro mark sheet scam

Police in neighbouring Bokaro are searching for one Sunil Kumar, the chairman of an allegedly unauthorised education trust that issued matriculation and intermediate certificates to more than 1,000 unsuspecting candidates over the past four years.

By Praduman Choubey in Dhanbad
  • Published 12.09.18
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The website of Jharkhand Academic Open Board

Dhanbad: Police in neighbouring Bokaro are searching for one Sunil Kumar, the chairman of an allegedly unauthorised education trust that issued matriculation and intermediate certificates to more than 1,000 unsuspecting candidates over the past four years.

The hunt for Sunil Kumar has been prompted by an FIR lodged by the state education department on Monday after the purported Jharkhand Academic Open Board Trust, which has an office in Bhojpur Colony of Chas, failed to submit any authorisation document obtained from the government to run such an institution.

Chas thana OC Pramod Kumar said Sunil Kumar had pulled off a vanishing act since the heat was turned on and raids were on across the steel city and its adjoining areas.

Bokaro district education officer (DEO) Mahip Kumar Singh said the higher and technical education and skill development department had lodged the FIR in the aftermath of an inspection on July 28 when Chas SDO Satish Chandra visited the trust office.

"We had sent a report (about no documents) to the education development in the first week of August and the FIR was lodged yesterday following orders from the state headquarters," Singh added.

The purported racket came to light in June during verification of mark sheets provided by the Jharkhand Academic Open Board to some students who cleared the Railway Recruitment Board exam.

The railway board found the mark sheets dubious and referred the matter to the Union HRD ministry, which in turn directed the state higher education authorities to launch a probe.

The Jharkhand Academic Open Board Trust was registered as an NGO (registration No 4517/333) on April 7, 2010, with Sunil Kumar as its chairman. Matriculation and intermediate certificates have allegedly been issued to 1,100 boys and girls since 2014.

The website www.jaob.in claims it is a "national, international organisation and enjoys statutory status under the Constitution of India, 1950," to impart education.

The site claims it has been "legally authorised" to host educational programmes, admit students, conduct examinations and issue mark sheets and certificates.

"The area of operation of Jharkhand Academic Open Board is all over India. Centres for examination are situated in almost all major cities, where examinations are normally conducted every year during the month of May... and December. For foreign and NRI students, the Jharkhand Academic Open Board is opening its new examination centre," the website reads.

DEO Singh said the website was endorsing fake claims because the said board had never received affiliation from any authorised body. "It has not been able to justify its status as an education board within stipulated time and submitted inadequate documentary evidence such as applications to the PMO and Union HRD ministry," Singh added.