The Powai police on Monday raided the residence of the prime accused and the office of Climb First Consultancy Private Limited (CFCPL), a coaching class allegedly involved in cheating students.
In a raid at one of the centres, a person who has studied mechanical engineering was found to be taking lectures of GMAT and hotel management, police said.
Around 16 students, who were allegedly duped by the classes, approached the Powai police on Monday to lodge complaints. Earlier, five students had approached the Powai police, who said they expected the number of complainants to rise. Some students had contacted them on telephone to complain against the classes, police said.
On Sunday, the police arrested Manish Vijay Vargiya, 36, the founder of the classes, and Samuel Indigir, 24, the human resources head, along with two subordinates Rohan Madiyar, 27, and Satyam Yadav, 26. Vargiya ran classes in the name of Future Propel from 2008 to 2011 and in 2012 he started CFCPL, police said.
“More students are approaching us after the fraud came to light. We suspect that the fraud amount would add up to crores,” said SN Bhandge, assistant police inspector of Powai police station, adding: “We have seized two laptops, files, documents and computer and are investigating how many students had enrolled. We are scanning the hard disk to obtain contact details of the students. We will call them to ascertain how many people were duped.”
Investigation revealed that the company has 13 bank accounts that the police are scanning to know the turnover of the tutorial. The company, which has 10 centres in the city and others in the US and Canada, takes tutorials for GMAT, GRE, SAT, TOEFL, civil services, CAT, hotel management and corporate English among other courses. The classes charged the students between Rs10,000 to Rs1 lakh, police said.
Police stated that as many as 19,000 students have enrolled in the classes. The Powai police stated that the classes neither gave study material to students nor did they appoint any qualified teachers for the courses.
The police have registered an offence under section 420 (cheating), 34 (common intention) and other relevant sections against the accused. The accused will be in police custody till April 5.
‘Robbed of money. And dreams’
MUMBAI: Borivli resident Akhilesh Vishwakarma, 20, toiled for seven months at a carpentry shop while studying for his final year commerce exam to save money to pay for his Union Public Service Examination (UPSC) coaching at the Powai-based Climb First Consultancy Private Limited (CFCPL).
However, not only did he lose the tuition fee of Rs28,700, he has also lost the dream to become an IAS officer after the scam came to the fore.
“My family lives by modest means and hence I had to arrange for my own tuition fee. And now that the money is lost, I do not know how I will be able to train for the exam. At least 12 friends of mine have been duped by the classes,” said Vishwakarma.
Zainab Usman, a 40-year-old teacher from Powai, had paid Rs15,000 at the classes to avail private coaching as she was preparing for the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam, to study Arts in Australia.
“A lady tutor came to our residence only once after we enrolled for the classes in December. We kept calling them and they asked us to speak to their customer care executives. We were completely hassled. When I visited the classes, they assured me that someone would come to our residence to continue the training. However, no one turned up,” said Mohammad, 48, her husband.
Dr Sunil Yadav, 29, a Malad resident who had paid Rs3000 to enroll for UPSC training, said: “The classes were completely disoriented. They would make UPSC students sit in the same class as banking students. Lectures would randomly be cancelled without prior intimation, faculty used to be missing. It was complete chaos.”