My question is based on the example of a startup. I have come across a "company" which claims to be providing services in Quantum Computing. However, various features of this company sound fishy to me and even unethical and illegal in academia. The company is called "Bikash's Quantum" which claims to be charging money from students in exchange of promise for 'internship'. And then spread this idea for earning more money by 'referring' to more students and presenting it as a money earning scheme (without any academic basis). According to my interpretation it is precisely the pyramid scheme in the disguise of an "internship" as the scheme asks a student to refer to this internship scheme to about 10 students each day where each new student will be charged 500 INR directly paid to this startup.
Next is the idea of awarding people with degree and making them pay for it. Even for a Ph.D. There is no idea of a scholarship or a stipend, rather on top of that the chosen candidate has to pay the fee. The question I want to ask here is more fundamental. The founder is in midst of his Ph.D. (see here & here). On top of this there is NO clue to what the company is affiliated with, in order to provide a legal degree (for BS, MS and a Ph.D.). And the payment options are quickly given even by a UPI address via the GooglePay app into a personal account. The founder is also heavily self-cited.
Is it legal to operate like this in academia? To award degree (not even clear from what affiliation)? Can a startup like this offer any desired 'degree' to anyone in exchange of money?
The main task done by this "company" is making the quantum circuits for various recent PRAs and PRL papers and try to publish them in Springer QIP journal. First and second year undergraduates are hired for this in exchange of money and they design these quantum circuits in IBM Quantum Experience environment.
(This admission information from the website was removed recently after a social media post was made against this company, and now is protected by a login. I had screenshots in my previous edits but was told to take them down, so I obeyed.)