Punjab Vigilance Bureau unearths scam in pharmacy council, nabs former registrars, superintendent : The Tribune India

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Punjab Vigilance Bureau unearths scam in pharmacy council, nabs former registrars, superintendent

Suspects committed irregularities in issuing D-Pharmacy certificates

Punjab Vigilance Bureau unearths scam in pharmacy council, nabs former registrars, superintendent

The suspects in custody of VB sleuths in Ludhiana on Saturday.



Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 9

The Punjab Vigilance Bureau (VB) has unearthed a big scam in the Punjab State Pharmacy Council (PSPC) and apprehended two former registrars and a superintendent for their involvement in committing severe irregularities related to the registration and issuance of certificates to pharmacists, allegedly in collaboration with privately owned pharmacy institutions.

Disclosing this here today, a spokesperson of the state VB said, the suspects are Parveen Kumar Bhardwaj and Dr Tejbir Singh (both former registrars) and accountant Ashok Kumar (at present superintendent), following their implication in a Vigilance inquiry.

He said Parveen served as the Registrar of the PSPC on various occasions from 2001 to 2009 and from 2013 to 2015 while Dr Tejbir Singh held the position for four months in 2013. Ashok Kumar, accountant, was also involved, according to findings of the Vigilance inquiry.

He said the investigation revealed crucial oversights in the verification process during the registration of pharmacists. The probe led to the discovery of numerous fake D-Pharmacy certificates during routine inspections. It became evident that stringent protocols and mandated educational qualifications were disregarded by the suspects, former registrars and officials during the admission process for D-Pharmacy courses across 105 pharmacy colleges in the state.

The Punjab State Technical Education Board, responsible for conducting online counseling for admissions to state government colleges, encountered persistent vacancies in private institutions. To fill these seats, private colleges allegedly admitted students from other states in connivance with the said Registrars and officials of the PSPC without obtaining mandatory migration certificates, accepting significant bribes from unsuspecting candidates. Moreover, several students gained admission to the D-pharmacy course by possessing requisite 10+2 educational qualifications in medical or non-medical streams privately whereas it has to be passed regularly and by attending science practical.

The spokesperson said during the probe it has came to light that the officials and employees of the PSPC collaborated with privately owned pharmacy colleges, allowing admissions without mandatory migration certificates and without verifying 10+2 certificates, all in exchange for substantial bribes. Furthermore, discrepancies emerged regarding the approval and registration process of certificates issued by education boards accredited by the Council of Boards of School Education in India (COBSE). The PSPC officials, in collusion with principals and organisers of private colleges, facilitated the registration of candidates from these boards, allowing them to secure employment in various departments and establish medical shops on the basis of such fake certificates.

He said suspect Parveen Bhardwaj’s services were terminated on March 31, 2011, for malpractice related to fake admissions, counterfeit certificates, record manipulation and omission from the dispatch register. However, he was later reappointed as registrar on December 24, 2013, albeit cancelled due to a High Court writ petition in 2015.

He said the verification process conducted by the Director, Medical Education and Research (DRME), and medical colleges in Amritsar, Faridkot and Patiala uncovered substantial irregularities in admissions and PSPC’s registration procedures. Reports from Amritsar and Faridkot revealed fraudulent practices in admissions and registration at the PSPC.

He said the investigation uncovered fake certificates of 143 students between 2005 and 2022. They completed their D-Pharmacy diplomas in private colleges, leveraging their connections withofficials of the Punjab Technical Education Board.

Despite multiple letters from 2016 to 2023 requesting remarks on verification reports, the PSPC failed to furnish necessary remarks on numerous occasions, highlighting the pending nature of the inquiry. Additionally, the role of Government Medical College, Patiala, in verifying reports for certain districts remains unclear due to the absence of provided lists.

Of the total 3,078 verifications, the PSPC provided remarks for only 453 pharmacists without specifying the nature of the identified fraudulent documents.

A case was registered yesterday at the VB police station here and further investigation would scrutinise the roles of other officials, employees and clerks of the PSPC, along with individuals associated with private colleges, he added.

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