State government removes recognition of the “ghost college”

An investigation following this paper’s synopsis of bogus colleges resulted in the de-recognition of College Sion

The restaurant at the Rao Junior College of Science site in Sion East, on November 14. Pic/Rajesh Gupta

Months after midday, it emerged that certain colleges in the city existed only on paper or lacked adequate facilities – but nonetheless participated in the centralized online admissions process, Maharashtra’s Ministry of Education revoked the approval of a junior college run by Rao Educational in sion trust. According to the report in this newspaper, the department checked the universities concerned, which led to the de-recognition of the Sion University, which operates a pizzeria.

At noon on November 14, a detailed report on the ghost colleges highlighted three junior colleges run by the Rao Educational Trust. The Andheri, Sion and Kharghar colleges listed by the Trust in the online admissions system only existed on paper and for a number of years there were no institutions at the address. Rao Educational Trust, Andheri (West), was granted permission to operate Rao Junior College of Science, Sion, in June 2018 provided they produce the Deed of Sale/Deed of Gift or Lease Agreement for a 30 year lease, Challan of Rs 30,000, audit of three consecutive years and government-mentioned fixed deposits within three months.

On March 6, the Department of Education revoked approval for the Trust’s Junior College in Sion. Pic/Rajesh Gupta

Because the criteria were not met, the college’s approval was revoked on June 24, 2020. The Trust then appealed to the Bombay High Court which ordered the department to hear the Trust and reversed the school’s dissolution on August 18, 2020. A hearing was held in November 2020 at which the Trust presented audit reports and provided details of the FDs mandated by the department. Also, the Trust was granted an extension of one year’s training to pay Rs 25,000 challan and present the lease.

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The Trust drew up the challan but requested more time for the lease to be drawn up, citing the COVID-19 situation. The Trust received an extension in September 2021 and a final extension in July 2022 to present the lease through January 2023. During the inspection conducted by the Deputy Director of Education (Mumbai) after the November report at noon, a pizzeria was found where the Sion College said it was supposed to be. On January 12, 2023, a report was submitted to the Department of Education.

“When the permit was granted in June 2018, it was clearly written that if the ministry determines that the school is operating at a location other than the address for which the permit was granted, the permit will automatically be revoked. Even after two extensions, the trust has not drawn up a rental agreement for the Sion University,” says an official from the Education Department. On 6 March 2023, the Department issued the Order under Sections of the Maharashtra Self-financed Schools (Establishment and Regulation) Act 2012 revoking the permit for the Trust’s Sion-based junior college.

“After the midday report, we carried out an inspection of the university, during which we found that the address given by the Treuhandschule Sion was wrong. There is no university at the address. The report was then submitted to the department, whereupon the order was issued revoke the permit,” said Sandeep Sangave, Deputy Director of Education (Mumbai).

Year Trust was awarded the contract to run the college

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Day in January when the report was submitted