Even ministers in India have been caught with fake degrees or accused of it

Even ministers in India have been caught with fake degrees or accused of it

It was reported last week (17 Feb) that Singapore’s Manpower Ministry will be investigating 15 work pass holders who have declared their degrees came from Manav Bharti University. This university was caught by Indian authorities selling tens of thousands of fake degrees over the years to students in India.

Not only students are using fake degrees to further themselves, some Indian politicians were also caught obtaining fake degrees to improve their political prospects.

For example in 2015, Delhi law minister Jitender Singh Tomar was arrested on charges of allegedly submitting forged law degree while filing his nomination for the assembly polls. Tomar quit after being arrested for allegedly using fake degrees to enroll as an advocate.

Delhi law minister Jitender Singh Tomar was arrested on charges of allegedly submitting forged law degree while filing his nomination for the assembly polls.

Tomar’s troubles began when a petition in the high court accused the minister of using a fake undergraduate degree to enroll as a law student. This was corroborated in a reply by Tilka Manjhi Bhagalpur University saying that Tomar’s degree, mark sheet, and roll number were “completely fabricated”. His degree didn’t exist in the official records of the university.

Another minister in the State of Maharashtra, Vinod Tawde, also got into trouble in 2015 for declaring himself an engineering graduate, even though the university from which he got his degree is not recognised. This was found out by the media.

Maharashtra’s education minister Tawde in trouble over fake degree.

Tawde, who was the Education Minister in the State of Maharashtra, later admitted that he received his BE (Electronics) degree from the Sant Dnyaneshwar University, Pune, which is not affiliated to the University Grant Commission or the All India Council for Technical Education of India. Furthermore, the Bombay high court had, in 2005, already ruled that the university did not have the right to award degrees.

India’s opposition told the media at the time, “Tawde’s degree is false and the institution he went to was not recognised. What example will he set for students?”

In 2019, controversies surrounded India’s newly-appointed minister of Human Resource Development (HRD), Ramesh Pokhriyal, after it was reported that he had two degrees from an international university not recognised or registered.

Minister of Human Resource Development (HRD), Ramesh Pokhriyal, was conferred two doctorate degrees from a degree mill.

Pokhriyal was sworn in as the HRD minister in the second Modi government and soon a news report emerged about his two doctorate degrees that he had received were from an unrecognized university in Sri Lanka.

According to a news report by Indian news website India Today, the Open International University (OIU) of Colombo conferred two doctorates to Pokhriyal in the 90s for his contribution in literature and in the field of science. However, according to the report, OIU is neither registered as a foreign university nor a domestic university in Sri Lanka.

In a reply to enquiries from Indian media, the High Commission of India (Colombo) stated, “As far as the High Commission is aware, Open International University for Complementary Medicines in Colombo (Sri Lanka) is not recognized by the University Grants Commission – Sri Lanka.”

Even PM Modi’s degrees are in question

In the case of India Prime Minister Modi, there have been also serious questions over the authenticity of his BA degree from the University of Delhi and MA degree from the Gujarat University.

Though both universities have released statements to support Modi’s claim in the past, they continue to refuse to disclose the information needed to allay growing suspicion over various anomalies present in the available university documents — his name, date of birth and even his specialization at Gujarat University on a subject called “Entire Political Science”.

Political science is a known discipline, but “Entire Political Science” is unheard of. This suspicious name adds to the mystery surrounding his degrees. Also, it has been alleged that the college from which he obtained his MA has no political science course. Modi’s silence on the matter only makes things look worse. To add fuel to the controversy, Gujarat High Court dismissed a plea to allow inspection of Modi’s university records on a technical ground.

Opposition members have also found that in Modi’s BA marksheet, his name is shown as Narendra Kumar Damodardas Modi, while in Modi’s BA and MA degrees, his name reads as “Narendra Damodardas Modi”. This discrepancy wouldn’t have raised an eyebrow if there was a corresponding change of name affadavit, but no such document has been made public.

The tale of mismatches doesn’t end here. Even in the year of attending the course, there is discrepancy. While Modi’s marksheet shows 1977 as his final year in University of Delhi, the same is shown as 1978 in what has been presented on his BA degree by university officials.

Furthermore, since Modi is the most prominent public figure in India today, it shouldn’t have been difficult to find people who attended the course or took the exam with him. Even while attending normal courses, multiple acquaintances are made in college, but since Modi is a celebrity and the nation’s top leader, hordes of batchmates should have come forward to confirm with pride that they had attended a course with him. However, according to India’s media reports, not even one batchmate has surfaced to verify Modi’s degree claim.

Finally, for any institute, it is a matter of pride to share that famous personalities have been affiliated with them. This helps the institute gain publicity and improve their image. This is why Punjab university never grows tired of flaunting its association with former Indian PM Manmohan Singh.

Not only does PU publicize that Manmohan was a gold medalist from PU, it also created a chair in Manmohan Singh’s name and now has enlisted him in professorial capacity. So it’s surprising that both the University of Delhi and Gujarat University, the institutes where Modi claimed to have done his higher studies in, have been coy about their association with the PM.

Till today, questions continue to linger on Modi’s BA and MA degrees.

 

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