Kerala fake certificate row: Police nab former SFI leader Thomas in Kottayam; bail for K Vidya

An eight-member team of the Kayamkulam police that is probing the case had found that the degree certificate Nikhil Thomas had submitted was fake.

BySreerag PS

Published Jun 24, 2023 | 11:53 AM Updated Jun 24, 2023 | 5:38 PM

Nikhil Thomas and K Vidya.

Former Students’ Federation of India (SFI) leader Nikhil Thomas, who is facing charges of submitting a fake certificate to gain admission into a college, was taken into custody from a government bus in the Kottayam district of Kerala, police said on Saturday, 24 June.

He was taken into custody while travelling in a KSRTC bus bound for Kottarakkara in Kollam district.

Earlier, an eight-member team of the Kayamkulam police found that the degree certificate Nikhil Thomas had submitted was fake.

Thomas has been taken to Kayamkulam police station in Alappuzha district and is being interrogated, a police officer said.

Kayamkulam sub-division DySP Ajaynath told South First, “We got information that Nikhil Thomas was in the Kottayam bus stand and we were able to arrest him. The accused has just been brought to the police station. We will be able to share further details with media only after his interrogation.”

Thomas had been a leader of the SFI, the student arm of the ruling CPI(M) party in Kerala, in the Kayamkulam-based MSM College.

He went incommunicado after the Kalinga University in Chhattisgarh and the University of Kerala called him out for producing a fake certificate to gain admission into the MCom programme of the Kayamkulam-based Milad-E-Sherif Memorial (MSM) College.

Also Read: Kerala fake certificate row: Ex-SFI leader Nikhil goes into hiding

Expelled from SFI

Under attack from various quarters over the fake certificate charges, the SFI had, on Tuesday, expelled him from the primary membership of the outfit.

The SFI, which initially came out in support of Thomas, took a U-turn hours after Kerala University Vice-Chancellor Mohanan Kunnummal told reporters that the student leader had indeed submitted a fake certificate.

News outlets, under attack from the CPI(M) for reporting on the misdeeds of SFI leaders, contacted Kalinga University, which also clarified that it had not provided any such certificate to Thomas.

On 20 June, the SFI expelled Thomas from its primary membership and claimed that Thomas had misled it. “Thomas did something that no SFI worker should have done,” SFI state secretary PM Arsho said in a statement, deviating from his previous statement that the certificate submitted was original.

While defending Thomas, Arsho had also lashed out at the media for “singling out” an emerging leader and indulging in “character assassination”.

Also Read: SFI leader forges degree certificate to join PG course

Allegations by KSU

The Kerala Students’ Union (KSU), the students’ wing of the Congress in the state, had been alleging that Thomas had obtained an MCom seat in the same college after submitting a “fake degree certificate”.

The KSU has been claiming that Thomas failed his BCom degree course at MSM College but during the MCom admission, he provided a certificate from Kalinga University in Chhattisgarh.

Speaking to South First, KSU state secretary Aloshious Xavier had called for a comprehensive probe into the issue.

Xavier said that the issue was not merely about one SFI leader.

“It also involves the college management, the head of the department, and the university syndicate. They were all involved in getting him admitted. The investigation should look into all these aspects,” he demanded.

Also Read: Kerala police confirm former SFI leader Vidya forged document

Police confirms certificate to be fake

An eight-member team of the Kayamkulam police probing the case had found that the degree certificate submitted by Thomas was fake. “

We have ascertained that the degree produced by Nikhil Thomas is fake. We have received Kalinga University’s response to our queries, clarifying that the certificate was fake,” Kayamkulam sub-division DySP Ajaynath told South First in an earlier interview.

“If it is forged, there will be other people involved in the case. Other individuals will be questioned as the investigation progresses. Our team is investigating the case and probing multiple ways to arrest the accused,” Ajaynath added.

Second SFI leader gets bail

K Vidya, a former SFI leader, who had been “missing” following allegations of forging an experience certificate and was arrested late on 21 June, has been granted bail.

On Saturday, the Mannarkkad munsiff magistrate court in Palakkad district granted bail in the case filed by the Ernakulum-based Maharaja’s College as well as Attappadi Government College in Palakkad.

The court allowed conditional bail in a personal bond of ₹50,000 with two sureties. The court has also asked Vidya to remain within the state boundaries as a bail condition.

However, earlier the court had remanded Vidya until 6 July and hence she will have to remain in judicial custody until early next month.

On Thursday, Vidya had spoken to media when she was being escorted by the police to the Mannarkkad Munsif court. She asserted that the case against her was fabricated and she would prove it in court.

“Both you (media) and I know that this is a fabricated case. I will seek all legal avenues available to prove my innocence in the case,” she said.

In an earlier interview with South First the Agali Deputy Superintendent had said the FIR against Vidya was lodged under Sections 465 (forgery), 471 (using forged documents as genuine), and 468 (forgery for the purpose of cheating) of the Indian Penal Code.

A former student of Maharajah’s College in Ernakulam, Vidya allegedly forged an experience certificate, stating that she had been a “guest lecturer” in the Malayalam Department of the college.

The police were under heavy criticism for their failure in arresting Vidya. She was finally arrested from a friend’s house at Meppayur in the Kozhikode district late on Wednesday — 15 days after a case was registered against her.

She was subsequently taken to the DySP’s office at Agali in Palakkad and presented before a magistrate on 22 June.

(With PTI inputs)