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Education scam: ED attaches Rs 110-crore assets of Sikkim-based private University

KOLKATA : Undertaking its biggest action in a suspected education scam, Enforcement Directorate (ED) today attached assets worth Rs 110 crore of a Sikkim-based private university which is alleged to have duped numerous students by issuing fake degrees. Using the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), the agency has attached cash of Rs 25 crore lying in bank accounts while the rest of the seizure value pertains to land assets in states like Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Haryana belonging to the institute, which was identified as the Eastern Institute for Integrated Learning in Management (EIILM). The ED's zonal office here had registered a money laundering case against the institute and its promoters on the basis of a Sikkim police FIR on EIILM, the foundation which runs it, and its owner, Vinay Rai. "Assets worth Rs 110 crore in the name of the university and others have been attached under money laundering laws. 

The educational institute was duping students by offering degrees and certificates in violation of UGC rules. There were numerous complaints against the fraudulent practices of the university," an official said quoting the attachment order. This is the first big action under money laundering laws in an alleged education scam case in the country. Efforts made by PTI to contact the university did not yield any result as the phone numbers provided on its website turned out to be "invalid". There was also no reply to emails sent in this regard. Sources said the ED probe found that the management and owners of the university were "laundering" funds obtained from students as curriculum and tuition fees in purchasing large tracts of land and creating bank balances across the country. "The university and its owners were conducting tainted transactions by extending illegal loans and making purchases in a circuitous manner within the organisations floated by them. The university violated UGC rules and other laws by establishing centres outside Sikkim and floating courses and giving degrees which they were not allowed to give," they said.
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