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Fake certificate scam: DG Shipping revokes approval for Puducherry-based Marine Officers’ Training Academy

P Manoj Mumbai | Updated on February 14, 2020 Published on February 14, 2020

Directorate General of Shipping has served showcause notices on the institutes that had awarded the qualification certificates. Representative image   -  BusinessLine

 

The Director General of Shipping (DG Shipping) has de-recognised and permanently revoked the approval granted to the Puducherry-based Marine Officers’ Training Academy (MOTA), for flouting training rules, including issuing fake certificates to candidates without conducting classes and imparting training.

Govindan Munuswamy, K Saraswathi and J Sivaranjini, trustees/directors of the MOTA Educational Trust, which runs the Marine Officer’s Training Academy, were also debarred from DG Shipping-related activities.

BusinessLine has reviewed a copy of the order signed by Amitabh Kumar, DGS, withdrawing the approval granted to the institute for violations, including admitting candidates in excess of the approved intake, inadequacy of faculty, issuance of course certificates without attendance, serious lapses in infrastructure and quality systems, non-availability of video records of practical training, irregularities in attendance of faculty, conducting batches in excess of approval, issuance of course certificates to seafarers sailing on-board, permanent faculty working in multiple institutes, and course certificates being issued from non-approved premises.

No classes

At least 476 candidates who were issued certificates for modular courses from MOTA have submitted to the DG Shipping that they had obtained these course certificates without attending classes.

 

The DG Shipping also alleged that MOTA opened satellite offices at Srikakulam, Kochi and Noida from where fake certificates were issued through agents appointed by the institute after taking money.

Institutes are not allowed to start satellite centres elsewhere.

MOTA is the second maritime training institute to be de-recognised. The first was Chidambaram, Cuddalore-based Perunthalaivar Kamarajar Institute of Maritime Science and Engineering.

At least five maritime training institutes were involved in issuing certificates for short term courses to seafarers without imparting proper training.

Amnesty scheme

In January, India’s maritime administration announced a one-time amnesty scheme for seafarers who had secured qualification certificates without attending classes, in what was the biggest fake certificate scam in the country’s maritime training sector.

The amnesty scheme was introduced on “humanitarian considerations” given that most of the candidates involved in the fake certificate racket are poor and victims of the machinations of unscrupulous agents, genuinely remorseful of their conduct, and willing to redeem themselves by undergoing training again. They have also served punishment of nearly seven months which has caused them great financial hardship.

In September 2019, the Directorate General of Shipping had issued show cause notices to 3,762 candidates who it found had obtained fake certificates from the five training institutes without proper training. These candidates were also debarred from taking up jobs from July 2019.

DG Shipping Amitabh Kumar said that the fake certificates issued to all the 3,762 candidates have been cancelled and they would have to repeat these courses again from approved maritime training institutes to be eligible to take up jobs.

 

The period of debarment announced earlier for these fake certificate holders ended on January 31.

The amnesty scheme is not applicable to erring training institutes, their promoters, the principals and the course in-charge who were found involved or who will be found involved in future.

The process of withdrawal of approvals in respect of these institutes, blacklisting of their promoters, withdrawal of continuous discharge certificates and certificate of competency of the principals and course in-charge are under progress.

The promoters of these institutes have been/will be blacklisted for life not only from maritime training but from any activities relating to DG Shipping, Kumar said.

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Published on February 14, 2020
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