Process on to get accused in fake degrees scam extradited from Australia: Himachal DGP

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Shimla, Jan 31 (PTI) The process to ensure the extradition of three accused from Australia in a fake degrees scam at a Solan-based private university has been initiated, Himachal Pradesh Director General of Police (DGP) Sanjay Kundu said on Sunday.

Karnal-based Raj Kumar Rana, the chairman of the Manav Bharti Charitable Trust that runs the Manav Bharti University (MBU), is the prime accused in the fake degrees scam, the officer said.

Rana's wife, daughter and son have also been named as accused in the case, he said, adding that since they are in Australia, the process to get them extradited to India has been initiated.

Rana's passport was revoked on the recommendation of the state police after his arrest in the case, the DGP said.

A total of 275 people have so far been questioned in detail in connection with the fake degrees scam, he added.

Eight accused were arrested in the case after the registration of three FIRs in November 2019, the officer said, adding that two of them are still in judicial custody.

During the examination of 14 of the 55 hard disks seized in the case so far, the police found the records of 41,000 degrees issued by the university, of which 36,000 turned out to be fake and were issued to people in 17 states across the country, the DGP said.

'This is only the tip of the iceberg as the investigation is still on and more startling revelations are expected,' he added.

The number of fake degrees issued by the university as well as that of the accused in the case are likely to increase further, Kundu said.

The Himachal Pradesh government gave permission to the Manav Bharti Charitable Trust to run the university in 2009 after initially rejecting a proposal in this regard in 2008, he added.

On Friday, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) attached assets worth Rs 194.16 crore belonging to the Manav Bharti University, its associated concerns and promoters in connection with a money-laundering probe against them linked to the alleged fake degrees scam.

The provisionally attached properties are in the form of land, residential houses and commercial buildings in Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan worth Rs 186.44 crore and six fixed deposits of Rs 7.72 crore.

The assets are in the name of the Solan-based Manav Bharti University, the Madhav University, the Manav Bharti Charitable Trust and its chairman Rana.

The DGP said the ED attached the assets on the basis of information provided by the Himachal Pradesh police to it. PTI DJI RC