The Himachal Pradesh High Court on Wednesday (18th November) granted bail to Ex-Chancellor of Manav Bharti University, Ram Kumar Rana who is accused of selling fake Degrees and has been booked under Sections 420, 467, 468, and 120-B of Indian Penal Code, 1860.
While granting them bail, the Bench of Justice Anoop Chitkara observed,
"It goes without saying that the petitioner has, prima facie committed an offence, which not only destroyed the faith in the Educational Institutions but also exposed the administrative lapses while creating private Universities."
Investigation against the Petitioner (Ex-Chancellor of Manav Bharti University) revealed that one Pramod, who worked for Manav Bharti University, after his arrest made a disclosure statement under Section 27 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, which led to a discovery of a 1500 fake degrees, stamps and other material of Manav Bharti University, Solan, from another unit of the University, at Sirohi, Rajasthan.
Allegedly, Raj Kumar Rana/ Petitioner (Ex-Chancellor of Manav Bharti University), was the wholly Solly of this Sirohi institute and therefore, the investigation, prima facie, pointed towards his involvement and participation in the crime.
Similarly, it was alleged that the petitioner continued to employ one Krishan Kumar, despite acquiring knowing of fake degrees being prepared and sold under the name of the University, of which he was a Chancellor.
It was argued before the Court by the counsel appearing for the Petitioner that Manav Bharti University is a creation of statutes and works as per the Act.
He further claimed that the petitioner had been just a Chancellor of the University and in fact, it is the Vice-Chancellor, Registrar, Controller of Examination and other administrative staff of Manav Bharti University, who are responsible for its administrative functioning under the Act.
On the other hand, the Advocate General, contends before the Court that the modus Operandi of the petitioner was to sell counterfeit degrees for cash.
He stated about the possibility of a large number of persons getting jobs by using these fake degrees as genuine cannot be ruled out.
He also argued that the persons, who had issued fake Degrees continued to be associated with the university till date in one capacity or the other.
It was submitted that despite knowing that many allegations of counterfeit Degrees surfaced, "what the petitioner in the position of Head of the University as well as Trust would do was to take out the rotten apple, but to the contrary, he continued to feed the black sheep, which establishes his involvement and his role as the kingpin."
The Court, in its order, observed that the matter is triable by a Chief Judicial Magistrate and the petitioner is under incarceration since 19th June, 2020 i.e. for about 5 months.
The Court further remarked,
"Although the investigation would take sufficient time to complete, yet the fact that an incomplete charge-sheet was filed and the investigation may continue for months together as such, the petitioner's liberty cannot be curtailed any further. These factors, without extending them further, make out a case for bail."
The Court also opined,
"An analysis of entire evidence does not justify further incarceration of the accused, nor is going to achieve any significant purpose. Without commenting on the merits of the case, the stage of the investigation and the period of incarceration already undergone would make out a case for bail."
Consequently, the Petitioner was directed to be released on bail; however, the Court ordered that before the petitioner is released from prison, he shall surrender his passport with the Investigating Officer, if not already done.
It may be noted that the Ex-Registrar of Manav Bharti University, Krishan Kumar has also been granted bail on Wednesday (18th November), though, in a separate order.