Hyderabad: A retired Army officer was arrested on 10 September for allegedly cheating several students by issuing fake education certificates.

Burla Shankar Rao retired from the Army in 2013 after 26 years of service and established A1 Geethanjali Defence Academy at Jawahar Nagar. Rao wanted to coach aspirants who wanted to crack the Army entrance tests. Rao’s wife Uma Maheshwari and son Uttejare also trained the students at the coaching institute.

Rao, however, noticed that some students were competent but did not have the necessary qualifications. He started issuing fake certificates to these students and admitted them to his academy. The business turned out to be lucrative so Rao started issuing fake certificates to other needy candidates and charged a huge sum for the same.

For a Class X certificate, he charged Rs. 45,000, for intermediate certificate he charged Rs. 55,000, and for a fake college degree Rs. 75,000. Those who wanted an Msc degree could buy it from Rao for Rs. 50,000 while for an MPhil they had to pay Rs. 1.50 lakh. Meanwhile, for Rs. 2 lakh, one could get an LLB degree.

Rao was working with three others – Ashish, Dileep Rathod, and Sharma – to procure certificates from various universities like Shanghai International University, Osmania University, Acharya Nagarjuna University, Calox Teachers University, William Carey Himalayan, Jharkhand State Open School in Ranchi, National Institute of Open Schooling, Indian Institute of Engineers, Satya Sai University of Technology & Medical Sciences, Mahatma Gandhi University, Bundelkhand University, National Institute of Open Schooling, and Bihar Sanskrit Siksha Board.

Acting on a tip-off, special teams from Malkajigiri raided Rao’s residence and the academy and seized fake certificates of various universities. A laptop, three mobile phones, and receipt books were also seized.

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