For 22 years, he enjoyed the perks that come with being a government school teacher. After joining as an assistant teacher in 1996 at a state run school in Almora, in then undivided Uttar Pradesh, he grew up in the profession, courtesy regular promotions. He is now posted as principal of Government Primary School at Bitkot in Almora, which now is part of Uttarakhand.

It is a success saga most would be proud of. Khawani Singh too was, until the long arms of law caught up with him. It has now come to fore that Singh had secured the job on the basis of fake high school and senior secondary school certificates.

Singh would’ve continued to enjoy the government job and the pension that comes after the retirement but for a complaint filed with the special investigation team (SIT), constituted by the Uttarakhand government to look into the complaints of fake and forged degrees of teachers.

“It is shocking. This fraud remained undetected for 22 years and this man continued with his government job secured on fake documents. He got promotions and is now a principal,” Shweta Chaubey, the SIT in-charge, said, hinting at the negligence on part of the education department that failed to properly investigate his documents during recruitment.

After receiving a complaint, the SIT officials began a probe and found out that the high school (Class 10) mark sheet submitted by Singh carried a roll number that belonged to someone else, as per the records of the Allahabad school maintained by Uttar Pradesh government.

On further investigation it was found that roll number quoted in Singh’s senior secondary school (Class 12) mark sheet, had never been allotted by the Uttar Pradesh education department.

Following these two revelations, the SIT is now investigating into the authenticity of higher education certificates that Singh had submitted.

“The basic education officer of the district has registered a case with the education department as well as with the police who are now conducting further investigation,” Chaubey said.

Singh’s case is just another added to a long list of teachers who secured jobs on fakedegrees and false domicile or caste certificates. Beginning March 2017, when the BJP formed government in the hill state, cases against 20 teachers have been registered with the school education department and the police. Departmental inquiry against 22 others is in progress.

School education minister Arvind Pandey had constituted the SIT with the sole motive of exposing government teachers who got job through fraudulent means. He asked the SIT to investigate the appointments made after 2016.

The SIT recently found that another teacher, Vikram Singh, posted at government primary school in Dankot, Rudraprayag district, secured the job with a fake bachelor of education (BEd) certificate. The team has recommended action against the teacher.

“SIT is doing a wonderful job. We are taking appropriate action against all such teachers who managed to get employment in the department with the help of fake certificates,” Alok Shekhar Tiwari, director general, school education, said.

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