KOCHI: It was with much aspirations and a dream of living in London that 19-year-old Dino of Vazhakkulam walked into Kochi airport on October 23 to board a flight to the United Kingdom. The youth who could not complete Plus-II was brainwashed by a racket into believing that he could make it to a university in the UK for higher studies with a fake certificate which he bought by paying Rs 30,000. But all his dreams were shattered as he was caught at the Emigration wing by officials and was removed from the flight minutes before take-off.
Surprisingly, three others, including a woman, were caught on the same day for a similar offence by the Emigration based on a tip-off. Mohammed Hashir, 22, and Shahin, 22, from Pattambi and Rahana Beegum, 24, from Athanikkal were the others who were caught. They were attempting to fly to the UK for pursuing higher education. Mohammed Hashir, who passed only Class X, was trying to board a flight with a student visa to pursue a masters degree. It was found that his Plus-II certificate under Maharashtra State Board, Pune, and degree certificate of Madurai Kamaraj University, were fake.
Upon interrogation, he confessed that he obtained the certificates after paying a sum of Rs 90,000. Shahin who was going to join an MSc course obtained fake Plus-II and degree certificates after paying Rs 50,000. Rahana, who was on her way to pursue an MBA with a fake BBA certificate from a Tamil Nadu University, gave Rs 40,000 for the certificate. All the accused were handed over to the police later.
The incident exposes the startling fact that a big racket supplying fake education certificates to those aspiring to study in the UK is active in the state. Officials suspect the spike in these cases happened following the relaxation of Covid norms for flight journeys to the UK.
“The Plus II and degree certificates are from universities out of the state. But these persons collected them from the people in Kottayam, Kochi and other locations. Several persons have obtained degree certificates from rackets like this and the police are examining the matter,” said an officer.
Following the incident, the Ernakulam Rural Police constituted a high-level investigation team under SP K Karthick. “Those who supplied fake education certificates will soon be arrested. The investigation has been extended across the state,” he said. The arrested are now out on bail. Police said they will be summoned for further interrogation.
Many people paid exorbitant amounts for fake education certificates to go to the UK for continuing higher education. After, three such passengers were taken off the flight before take off, police have started an investigation.