Private varsity racket busted in Karnataka; con 'VC' grilled

Bengaluru: After busting a private university racket last week, police are grilling fake vice chancellor Santosh Lohar for leads to trace and arrests others involved in the scam, a police official said on Monday. "We are interrogating Lohar to crack the case further and get details on his co-accused, with whom he ran an unregistered university and duped about 70 private colleges in four southern states and collected lakhs of rupees from them," J.P. Nagar police inspector Sanjeev Kumar told IANS here. Though absconding Lohar was tracked and arrested on June 23, the news was kept under wraps till his custody was secured on June 24 and his premises searched for documentary evidence to book a case of cheating, forgery, and misappropriation. "Our investigation team has recovered many incriminating documents, Rs 8.9 lakh in cash, credit cards, chequebooks, bank passbooks, fake seals and certificates from Lohar's office and house," Kumar said. On a tip-off from their West Bengal counterparts after the fake University of Biochemical Science came to light when its chief executive Shyamal Dutta was arrested in Kolkata on May 6, city police had set up a special team to trace Lohar on a complaint filed by one of his victims -- T.C. Arivalagan from Chennai. "Promising educational trusts at Attapadi in Kerala, Vadalur in Tamil Nadu and Chitoor in Andhra Pradesh permits to open para-medical and bio-nursing colleges, Lohar collected Rs 78 lakh from them, boasting that his Bio Chemic Education Grant Commission was recognised by the central government as a private university to allow opening up of such colleges," Kumar recalled. The modus operandi of Lohar, a native of Bengal's Nadia district, was to upload gazetted orders on his varsity website and send e-mails to various educational institutions, asking them if they required permits to set up bio-chemic, bio-medic and nursing colleges. "The main accused had the audacity to drive around the city in a red beacon car, bearing a fake government of India logo. We are trying to trace his absconding associates Shivakumar, Babu, Mahesh, Chandrashekar, Subroto Das and Rajesh," Kumar added.