NEW DELHI: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has attached assets worth over Rs 194 crore belonging to the Manav Bharti University, its associated concerns and promoters in connection with a money laundering probe against them linked to an alleged fake degree scam that emerged in Himachal Pradesh last year, the agency said on Friday.
It said the provisionally attached properties are in the form of land, residential house and commercial buildings in Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan that are worth Rs 186.44 crore and six fixed deposits of Rs 7.72 crore.
The assets are in the name of Solan-based Manav Bharti University (MBU), Madhav University, Manav Bharti Charitable Trust and trust chairman Raj Kumar Rana.
The university is owned by the Manav Bharti Charitable Trust and was established under the Manav Bharti University (Establishment and Regulation) Act 2009, as per state police.
The total value of the assets attached by the Enforcement Directorate is Rs 194.17 crore.
The ED had last year filed a case under sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) against the accused after studying and taking congnisance of a clutch of FIRs registered by the state police.
The ED claimed in a statement that Rana “started this scam of issuance of fake degrees in the name of MBU in 2009 from his office in Karnal, Haryana”.
“Criminal proceeds to the tune of Rs 387 crore were generated from issuance of fake degrees and these were invested by Rana in several properties in his name as well as in the name of his son Mandeep Rana and other family members.”
“It has come out that these properties were under-valued so that illegal cash proceeds may be adjusted,” the ED alleged. It claimed that Rana got constructed another institution named Madhav University in Mount Abu, Rajasthan’s “through the illegal proceeds generated from issuance of fake degrees.”
“Proceeds of crime were indirectly utilised by channelling through the bank accounts of Manav Bharti University, Solan and Manav Bharti Charitable Trust for construction of Manav Bharti University (Rajasthan),” it alleged.
The loans availed for construction of MBU was majorly repaid in the form of cash deposits in banks which were nothing but “illegal” proceeds generated from issuance of fake degrees, the agency said.
“The illegal proceeds so infused into the bank accounts of Manav Bharti University, Solan and Manav Bharti Charitable Trust were falsely shown as the academic receipts in the books of accounts and hence inflated the same to show them as genuine proceeds,” the ED claimed.
Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur had told the state assembly in March last year that police seized 305 detailed mark cards, 15 degrees, computer hard discs, laptops, pen drives, stamps and several other documents during raids at the university in Solan.
He had said that the police also searched the Madhav University in Mount Abu and sealed its administrative complex after seizing 1,376 blank degrees, 14 stamps, four despatch registers, 50 migration certificates, 319 blank detailed mark cards and several other documents.
The chief minister informed that one of the three FIRs field against the university in Solan was lodged on March 3 on the complaint of a student from Haryana’s Charkhi Dadri who had alleged that she was given a fake degree.
Thakur had told the House that it was evident from the documents seized from the university that the accused were playing with students’ future for a long time by issuing fake degrees.