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Scam rocks Red Cross

Six months before the Commonwealth Games, an allegation involving the issue of fake certificates to 945 paramedic-untrained staff by the Indian Red Cross Society has surfaced in the capital, reports Vijaita Singh.

delhi Updated: Mar 27, 2010 00:08 IST
Vijaita Singh

Six months before the Commonwealth Games, an allegation involving the issue of fake certificates to 945 paramedic-untrained staff by the Indian Red Cross Society has surfaced in the capital.

The certificates — that qualifies its bearers to transport accident victims in ambulances — were allegedly issued to people who never underwent any first aid training with the St John's Ambulance Brigade, the society's sister concern, police said.

St. John's Ambulance Brigade is a Commonwealth Games volunteer. The Indian Red Cross Society lodged the complaint and has mentioned the names of five of its own employees as suspects.

"We have received a complaint from the Indian Red Cross Society and we are investigating into it. As of now we have not arrested anyone," said Shankar Dash, additional commissioner of police (New Delhi).

These certificates help their holders find employment in hospitals and airlines. According to Red Cross officials the accused reportedly pocketed Rs 5.19 lakh through fraudulent means.

"A fee of Rs 550 per candidate is charged for the first aid training course. The candidates intending to undergo the training have to register their name with St. John Training Wing at Red Cross Bhavan," said S L Gupta, advisor, Indian Red Cross Society in his complaint lodged with the police.

"We'd had a hunch all along that some personnel working in the training wing were making extra money through foul means."

The complaint states the fake certificate scam has been going on for the past one year. "There have always been persistent talks and rumours even in the corridors of Raj Niwas regarding malpractices prevailing in St John Ambulance Training Wing," said Gupta in his complaint.

"The circulation of fake certificates and issue of duplicate ones, on the plea of originals having been lost, without actually undergoing the training course have been the major subject of talk amongst visitors to Red Cross Bhavan."

The police said the employees named in the FIR would be questioned.