ED Attaches Rs 194cr Assets of Raj Kumar Rana over ‘Sale Of Fake’ Degrees
Manav Bharti Universitry (MBU) of Soaln (Himachal Pradesh ) in India is breaking all the records as the biggest ever scam is being unearthed by the agencies investigating the fake degrees scam. The university set up in 2009 is allegedly involved in a scam related to the sale of 45000 “fake” degrees.
Taking the unprecedented step and in a first-ever case of its kind, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has attached land, residential and commercial properties and Fixed Term Deposits (FDs) worth Rs 194.17 crore belonging Raj Kumar Rana who is reportedly the mind behind the scam and the owner of the ill gotten wealth.
Reports suggest Rana has acquired huge assets since the setting of the MBU (in 2009) and has assets in 17 states, including Rajasthan, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab and Kerala.
Rana who was arrested in June 2020 has his family living in Australia. His wife Ashoini Kanwar, son Mandeep Rana and daughter Aaina Rana at the time of writing of this news report are all understood to be in Australia and now face extradition to India.
In addition to Rana, his wife, son and daughter have also been reportedly booked under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
The fake degree scam was unearthed in February 2020 after the University Grants Commission (UGC) received an anonymous complaint about the alleged sale fake degrees by the MBU in Solan. Another Himachal Pradesh private university also allegedly doing the same thing is APG university based at Shimla.
Some reports suggest the degrees were sold for between Rs 3 Lakhs and Rs 5 Lakhs each.
An official of ED said that Rana started this scam of issuance of fake degrees in the name of MBU in 2009 from his office in Haryana’s Karnal. It has gone on ever since with agents being recruited interstate paying them heavy commissions for finding customers of fake degrees.
The Himachal Pradesh government had set up a high-level Special Investigation Team (SIT) to investigate.
“Of the 55 hard drives seized by the SIT, 14 have been examined so far. Only 5000 degrees of the total 41,000 fake degrees investigated, were genuine and rest all 36,000 were found to be fake”, director-general of police Sanjay Kundu said.
“Rana had purchased properties worth hundreds of crores of rupees in his name and family members through the proceeds raised from the sale of 36000 fake degrees in Himachal and elsewhere in the country in the past one decade,” the DGP added.
Commenting on the accused, the DGP confirmed efforts were being made to bring Rana’s wife, son and daughter to India from Australia to face courts.
“All his three family members—wife Ashoni Kanwar son and daughter are in Australia and efforts for extraction are underway “, he added.
The state government had originally refused permission for MBU setup in 2008 but later in 2009 issued the required Letter of Intent (LOI).
The SIT will also look into circumstances how Manav Bharti Trust was given Letter of Intent (LOI) by the state government in 2009 and what changed between 2008 and 2009.
One more university – Madhav University in Rajasthan’s Sirohi, was also constructed by Rana and it is being alleged that the proceeds generated from issuance of fake degrees have been used there.
The SIT has reportedly found that the bank loans obtained to acquire or construct properties were paid off through cash deposits in banks which were being – through creative accounting practices – recorded as ‘academic receipts’ to make them look genuine proceeds of a working university.