There’s no end to the problems being uncovered by certification bodies accredited by Raj Nathan’s IAS. What started as a reputable industrial accreditation body under Chuck Ramani has turned into a massive, global pay-to-play scam with the full imprimatur of major oversight bodies such as the IAF and APAC.
Now comes evidence that IAS bodies are issuing wholly illegal and fraudulent aerospace certifications, under the IAQG-controlled AS9100 scheme.
Meet Sumit Kale, the owner of two Indian certification bodies, ASQR and BSQR. Both of the bodies are accredited by IAS, but BSQR is currently listed as “suspended” due to some undefined “technical” reason. A suspension is temporary, meaning that IAS can still lift the suspension and restore its accreditation.
ASQR, meanwhile, shows as holding a fully current and active accreditation by IAS.
In what a whistleblower reported was likely Kale’s response to his temporary IAS suspension, he ran out and made a logo for a fake accreditation body, called USAC, and began issuing AS9100 certificates under that logo instead. See this example:
The problem here is twofold. First, consider that he’s issuing certs for aerospace manufacturers, and gravity means that defective airplanes tend to crash. Next, the IAQG claims to have tight control over the AS9100 scheme, through trademark registrations and other controls, and to date, there has been very little proliferation of fake AS9100 certificates in India or elsewhere.
Thanks to the IAS’ near-absent oversight and “relaxed” view of IAF rules, that’s about to change. I suspect we will see a flood of fake AS9100 certificates coming from India and the Middle East, and that ASQR/BSQR is merely the canary in the coal mine.
It’s not clear at all how IAS misses this stuff, except that they probably aren’t looking very hard so long as the checks clear. The level of fakery by Kale is astonishing, once you spend a few minutes checking. And, remember: both IAS and APAC are supposed to spend WEEKS checking, not minutes, and yet we are supposed to believe they can’t catch this stuff.
First is Kale’s LinkedIn profile, which names him as the “Director” of both CBs. Now, owning two CBs isn’t illegal, per se, but it’s a red flag; the reason for doing so is typically to address the exact situation we see here. One CB can lose accreditation, and the operator can simply continue to issue certificates under the 2nd CB’s logo. So it is always suspicious, but IAS accredited both, because it means twice the revenue.
Next, however, we see that the AQSR is literally the BSQR website, copied-and-pasted, to the extent that Kale forgot to update the text. Here is the main page of the AQSR website, but which still references BQSR:
And, yes, just ignore all the US flags. Like IAS itself, these are all Indian-run companies, using a US mailing address to try to dupe other Indians into thinking they are buying an “American” certification because even Indians don’t trust Indian companies.
It gets worse. ASQR still holds an active IAF accreditation, but only for ISO 9001, 14001, and 45001. But Kale, on his ASQR website, claims accreditation for a host of additional standards, including ISO 20000, ISO 15000, and ISO 27001:
Next, as an accredited body, ASQR is supposed to publicly post its complaints policy and other related documents, but the website just lists the procedures, without actually having any links to the documents themselves. Again, IAS never noticed this.
So, to recap: Sumit Kale has paid IAS for accreditation, and then created a fake competing AB when he was temporarily suspended. Meanwhile, he operates another CB with full accreditation that issues fake AS9100 certificates and engages in numerous other easy-to-spot violations of ISO 17011.
And IAS is cool with all of that.
If you don’t have enough of a headache already, consider this: APAC — which is supposed to ensure that IAS is doing its job — just allowed IAS to host its annual meeting in California, and IAS CEO Raj Nathan’s power is only growing. This is because of his friendship with the ever-corrupt Graeme Drake at APAC, as well as the IAF’s complete refusal to abide by its legally-binding Bylaws, Articles of Incorporation, published Mandatory Documents, and its own Multilateral Recognition Agreement.
Thanks to the IAF’s absentee leadership, it is now granting full recognition to one of the fastest-growing accreditation mill operations in the world. It’s just a matter of time before people get killed from defective products… assuming they haven’t already.
Postscript: let’s see if the IAQG will do anything to protect its much-respected AS9100 “brand.” But don’t get your hopes up. They are just as impotent as the rest, since they don’t have the stomach to take these clowns to court and enforce anything.
[Photo used in illustration credited to Ivan Hajnik from here.]
About Christopher Paris
Christopher Paris is the founder and VP Operations of Oxebridge. He has over 30 years' experience implementing ISO 9001 and AS9100 systems, and is a vocal advocate for the development and use of standards from the point of view of actual users. He is the author of Surviving ISO 9001 and Surviving AS9100. He reviews wines for the irreverent wine blog, Winepisser.