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More skeletons are tumbling out the closet with regard to the major fake educational certificate racket busted in Bolangir district recently. The fake certificate and marksheet scam seems to have a PAN India connection with its tentacles also spreading in various parts of Odisha.
Terming it just the tip of the iceberg, Bolangir SP Nitin Kusalkar said that around 1,000 to 5,000 fake certificates have been seized from a coaching centre named Reliance Education Institute. All the certificates looked almost similar to the original ones with properly printed holograms and logos. So far, 19 persons including the owner of the educational institution have been arrested, said the SP.
Also Read: 19 postal job aspirants among 21 arrested in Bolangir fake certificate case
How the Racket Operated
Bolangir Police said that the prime accused, Manoj Mishra had links with nearly 41 universities and schools and all the fake certificates seized during the raid carried the names of these educational institutes. The preliminary investigation revealed that Mishra had links with some lower rank employees of these educational institutions and it is being verified.
Seizures Made in Case
Certificates and marksheets of 41 universities and schools, over Rs 3 lakh cash, computer, hard disc and soft copies of certificates, mobile phones and bank account details have been seized so far.
Apart from this, Bolangir Police has also recovered 5 to 6 land related documents. It is suspected that the money received from the sale of the fake certificate and marksheet was used by the accused to purchase/invest in land and other property.
Similarly, rubber stamps of 27 responsible officials have also been seized during the raid. Police said that the stamps were prepared locally and they carried the names of Tehsildar, joint director, project director and others. Several diaries containing estimates, accounts, information regarding money transactions have also been recovered.
Also Read: Four newly-appointed postmasters in Odisha under scanner over fake certificates
A Bigger Racket Within Racket
Police have got some clue regarding a cheque bounce relating to Rs 81 lakh which is being verified. It is indicating towards another scam which was put under the carpet after one of the middlemen had died accidentally. Senior Police officials said that the accused had taken Rs 5 lakh from a job aspirant promising him a job at MCL.
Money Charged From Aspirants
Police officials said that the accused and others who were part of this racket were charging Rs 1.5 lakh to Rs 2 lakh per certificate/marksheet. However, the cost would be sometimes around Rs 5 lakh depending on the need of the aspirants. Bolangir SP said that it is suspected that the racket was operating for the past seven to eight years.
(With inputs from Manoranjan Joshi in Bolangir)