LAHORE: The staff of Bahauddin Zakariya University (BZU) Multan and owners of 32 private law colleges affiliated with the varsity have committed an “organised fraud” by illegally admitting 14,000 students in their three-year LLB programme, said an inquiry report of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).

A four-member FIA team had conducted forensic audit of the private law colleges currently and previously affiliated with the BZU. It probed into the genuineness of the candidates of the colleges for LLB part-I second annual examinations held this year and submitted its report to the Supreme Court last month.

The report, a copy of which is available with Dawn, submitted by the joint inquiry team concluded that “there is an organised fraud committed by owners of the private law colleges in connivance with staff of the BZU by preparing fake documents, financial discrepancies with mala fide intention and favouritism as well as violating rules and regulations for their personal gain, which needs sufficient time to dig out the truth”.

In the report, the FIA additional director general (North), Islamabad says: “It is humbly requested that mere six weeks may kindly be granted to the FIA in the matter to finalise the instant inquiry, in interest of justice.”

Report notes submission of fake documents prepared, financial discrepancies, rule violation in connivance with varsity staff

It further states that Muhammadan Law College, Multan and Pakistan Law College, Pakpattan had submitted fee vouchers amounting to Rs1.7 million with fake and fabricated stamps of the bank concerned. The registration of some of the 32 colleges with the varsity was done without depositing the complete registration fee, and there was no mechanism for its calculation, collection and verification.

The team also found that the record submitted by the private law colleges and BZU registration and examination branches was contradictory and did not match.

“A student’s 75 per cent attendance in college is mandatory, but the managements of these colleges provided self-made attendance records to cover the issue despite the fact that most of the students are residents of other districts or government officials, and unable to attend the college.”

One of the FIA team members told Dawn that BZU officials and private law colleges had committed an organised fraud with thousands of students. The colleges submitted fake fee vouchers and attendances of students to the team and the issue should be further investigated to fix responsibility on the officials involved in the scam.

He further said the BZU officials and law colleges had admitted students in back dates, adding the team had submitted its report to the Supreme Court and was waiting for further orders.

In September, the apex court had directed the FIA to scrutinise the allegedly illegal admissions of 32 law colleges affiliated with BZU Multan. A two-member SC bench comprising Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi was hearing the matter related to the mushroom growth of private law colleges under the BZU umbrella.

Following SC orders, the BZU had disaffiliated 30 of the 32 colleges over illegal admissions to 14,000 students in the three-year LLB programmes.

Earlier, former Punjab governor Chaudhry Sarwar had ordered the BZU vice chancellor to fix responsibility in the scam after a three-member inquiry committee looked into the findings of a previous internal BZU inquiry, and identified the culprits who had allowed 41 affiliated colleges to flout rules to enrol more than 10,000 students.

In its findings, the BZU’s internal committee led by Dr Omar Chaudhry had concluded that 29 approved private colleges had admitted up to 300 students against the sanctioned strength of 100, while 10 of them had no permission to admit students into LLB part-I (three-year course). Hence, all their registered students were prima facie illegal.

It had further said there was no mechanism for calculation, collection and verification of registration fee on the part of the BZU and private colleges. “There is a serious lack of coordination between the registrar and treasurer offices for verification of university income,” the inquiry concluded.

It also stated that the vouchers of examination and registration fees submitted by the affiliated colleges were fake.

“It needs to be further verified for how long this practice by the said colleges has been continuing,” it suggested.

Published in Dawn, December 9th, 2022

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