Fake certificates: Maharashtra state gymnastics officials face the heat

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A case has come to light where one Vijay Sadashiv Borkar allegedly submitted a fake sports certificate to get a job in a Maharashtra state government department under the sports quota.

The Kolhapur district sports officer, Shankar Gangaram Bhaskar, has filed an FIR against Borkar alleging that he had submitted a fake certificate claiming he had won bronze in the National Trampoline Championship held in Mumbai from Dec 27-29, 2013 under the aegis of the Gymnastics Federation of India (GFI).

Bhaskar has also accused Mahendra Anant Chemburkar, the Maharashtra Gymnastics Association secretary from 2011-2015, and Sangli district secretary Deepak Sawant of giving false information that Borkar won bronze in the championship.

“The competition was not held and GFI didn’t issue any certificate,” said Kaushik Bidiwala who was the GFI secretary-general in 2013.

However, Chemburkar denied any wrongdoing. “There are two factions in the state. The rival group wants to tarnish my image. Let those who have the certificates reveal the names,” he said from Mumbai.

An official familiar with the development said on condition of anonymity, “A national-level certificate can be had for anything between R5-10 lakh. It depends on your resources. Five cases of bogus certificates have come to light, all in gymnastics. An FIR has been filed in one case while investigations are on in others.”

The cases are from the period between 2011 and 2013 when GFI wasn’t recognised by the sports ministry and national competitions weren’t conducted. The certificates are accompanied by affidavits from then GFI treasurer S Shantikumar Singh from Manipur.

Singh confirmed he had received a letter from the Maharashtra sports department. “I haven’t given any affidavit. Someone has forged my signature and picture. This is to defame me.”

Following the elections in November 2019, Singh became GFI secretary-general. In May, though, the ministry refused to grant recognition to GFI as Singh was not eligible for the post.

Borkar’s luck ran out when his certificate was sent for re-verification to the headquarters - sports directorate - in Pune. In another case, Pawan Ashok Patil’s certificate mentions he had won silver in the National Trampoline Championship at Mumbai in 2011.

The certificate is signed by Bidiwala and then president Jaspal Singh Khandhari. “No national competition was conducted in 2011... the certificate is fake,” said Bidiwala.

Bidiwala doesn’t rule out state officials’ connivance. “It’s easy to make fake certificates… someone from within the system has done it,” he says.

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