Fraudsters are hyperactive. Ever since the exposure of infamous con man Shahed Karim of so-called Regent Hospital, many of this kind of ill breed have been netted by the country's law enforcement or intelligence agencies. Even facilities claiming to provide treatment for mental disorder have been found to run with no psychologists or psychiatrists. This shocking fact came to light when a police officer was physically tortured to death immediately after his admission to one such torture home.
If the health sector has allowed the mess to accumulate to a mountainous proportion, the higher education sector also has long been struggling to clean its Augean stable. The rot began from the time private universities started receiving approval on considerations other than required quality and conditions. Irregularities were so rampant that two groups of a university once started running parallel administration. There were a handful of universities which allegedly issued certificates in exchange for money with no academic courses completed by certificate holders.
That chapter now seems to be an event of the past. But this in no way is a confirmation that higher education has come out of the woods. Lately a fraudster completed most of the process to swindle unsuspecting job-seekers in the name of Bangabandhu Antarjatic (International) Bishawbidyalaya (university). Claiming to be its founder vice-chancellor, one professor Dr ABM Sharifuzzaman Shah not only opened an office in Syedpur town but also hoisted a bill board on a piece of government land. News of the foundation-laying ceremony, in which he had the temerity to use the name of member of parliament (MP) Rabeya Alim as the president of the board of trustee and also the picture of the country's president, got published in some newspapers.
To the ill luck of the fraudster, this drew the attention of the University Grants Commission (UGC) and it lost no time to expose the con man's fraudulence and requested the ministry of education to take action against him. Before the ministry could set its mechanism on course, newsmen pursued the man to have a version from the horse's mouth. But no sooner was the news on his misdeed carried in a couple of contemporaries on Thursday than the fraudster went into hiding. Before he had fled, he pulled down the bill board of his fake university from his office building and the office room was under lock and key.
The UGC is taking preparation for bringing out public notices alerting job-seekers not to apply for any position he has published. Perhaps the news has served him right. He crossed the forbidden boundary. Using the picture of the republic's president without his permission and falsely claiming an MP as the president of a board of trustee are serious criminal offences. Anyone can see why he did it, he did it to raise the credibility of his false claims so that he could dupe people.
Now what should trouble one's mind is, how dare such people do use high profile persons such as MPs or even a higher functionary of the state? If one is really a doctorate, what dark compulsion triggers him to take recourse to such a nefarious business? Can it be, here is another PhD claimant of Shahed Karim's ilk? The psychology working behind such a bizarre move is obviously hellish ---one that is fraught with intrigues and desperation. Any PhD holder can live a life with dignity unless one is misgoverned by avarice and lure of luxury.
On the eve of the 50th anniversary of independence and at a time the nation is in the midst of the Mujib Barsha, celebration of the centenary year of the nation's founding father, tricksters like Shahed Karim and Sharifuzzaman Shah have been using Shekh Mujib's name for evil purposes. Actually, misguided forces have taken over the spirit of the Liberation War ---one that prized honesty, sacrifice and distributive social and economic justice for all. By this time, loan defaulters, bribe-takers, money launderers, trade syndicates and share market manipulators have negated much of the gains of independence.
Shahed and Sharifuzzaman are but small fries. The owners of homes in Toronto's Begumpara and men like PK Halder are the real villains who have encouraged people's evil instincts and therefore should be brought to justice.