Indian Express Exposes the Fraudster Evangelist Valsan Thampu

published on March 15, 2008

St Stephen’s acting principal Thampu’s PhD fails UGC test

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NEW DELHI, March 14: In January this year, Officer on
Special Duty and, in effect, acting principal at the prestigious St
Stephen’s College, Reverend Valson Thampu, announced he had got his
PhD, a mandatory requirement for his job — a requirement he did not
meet when he was appointed in May last year.

Now it’s confirmed that his PhD is not recognised by the University
Grants Commission (UGC)
, the statutory body of the government
overseeing standards of university education in the country.

Thampu’s PhD certificate — a copy of which is with The
Indian Express — shows him as enrolled at the minority Allahabad
Agricultural Institute-Deemed University (AAI-DU) as a PhD student of
Theology from January 2005 to November 2007. His subject: HIV-AIDS,
Gospel and Culture: A Theological Enquiry into the Interface between
Gospel and Culture in respect of a global pandemic.

This university’s Vice Chancellor Rajendra B Lal is
described, on the official website, as a man who was “baptised by the
Holy Spirit” on February 25, 2000. And that night, at around 1.30 am,
he was “awakened” by the Spirit and while “praying in English, his
tongue started rolling and he spoke in unknown tongues.”

In a written reply to a detailed questionnaire sent by The
Indian Express, the UGC today said that as per the law (Section 22 of
the UGC Act, 1956), the commission has not “specified any degree in the
name and style of Bachelor in divinity, Masters in Theology and
Doctorate in Theology”.

So “since Bachelor in Divinity and Master in Theology are not
specified degrees under the law, the terminal degree of Doctorate in
Theology of the same institutions/faculty/department can not be treated
as a recognised qualification for appointment in a teaching job in any
university and college,”
says the UGC reply, signed by Under Secretary
V K Jaiswal.

In fact, an investigation by The Indian Express reveals that
AAI-DU, the university that awarded him the degree, is not authorised
by the UGC to run its Theology courses, including a PhD.

This is confirmed by the UGC: “The AAI-DU is a deemed
university with Agriculture as a chosen field of specialization. The
deemed university status was recommended for this institution on the
basis of academic assessment covering the UG and PG courses being
conducted by the institute at the time of inspection of UGC expert
committee. The report of the Committee did not convey any
recommendation on the Theological courses.”

In a letter to all deemed universities in March 2004, the
UGC directed them to seek prior approval for opening new centres and
introducing new courses.

While Thampu was unavailable for comment, media advisor of St Stephen’s College Vinod Chowdhury said he had “nothing to say.”

Official records reveal another alleged irregularity. Rev Dr Jagdhari
Masih, who “supervised” Thampu’s PhD, was not a regular faculty member
at the university during the period Thampu says he was enrolled. But
UGC rules clearly specify that only a regular faculty member can
supervise course work and research in pursuance of a PhD degree, with
secondary assistance from a visiting faculty if required.

Masih joined AAI-DU as “honorary dean” of its Faculty of
Theology in December 2007, barely a month before Thampu announced his

When contacted, Masih told The Indian Express: “I am just an
outsider, an honorary dean. I am not a regular faculty at the
university. Since I am a Bishop, I can’t take full-time employment. But
I did supervise Rev Thampu’s PhD.” When asked how and why, he declined
to comment.

Meanwhile, his V-C sees the Holy Spirit at night

three weeks, The Indian Express made several attempts to get in touch
with Rajendra B Lal, vice chancellor of AAI-DU, the university that
gave Thampu his PhD but was told by his office staff that “he was in
prayer and couldn’t come on phone.”

•The university’s website
describes him as an individual who has seen visions of the Holy Spirit
that gave him the “various prophecies and prophetic words especially
anointed to heal the sick and cast out demons and preach the gospel.”

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