The recent spate of scams in the city has lent a different meaning to the term 'work experience'. Be it pilots licences, or railway exams, or an entire education board, or an army recruitment procedure, scamsters are marrying professional knowledge with creative risk to come up with one white-collar crime after another.
After the fake pilots scam was busted in May with the arrest of 22 persons — pilots, flying school instructors, DGCA officials and other middlemen, the crime branch of the city police clamped down on two former servicemen on Tuesday for cheating hundreds of Indian Army aspirants.
"The racketeers have been identified as Ram Babu Shukla, 45, and Maan Singh. They impersonated army officers, operated purely on a word-of-mouth basis and duped young men across Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh by promising placements in the Indian Army," said Ashok Chand, deputy commissioner of police (crime).
Shukla had joined the Indian Army as a jawan in 1985 and retired in November 2004 as a naik (corporal). He met Singh, another former jawan, at a coaching institute run by him (Shukla) in his native village of Fatehpur, in Uttar Pradesh. As to how the two came up with their novel plan will be known once the police interrogation is over.
Shukla and Singh along with associates, Sanjay Misra and Shiv Narain, supplied admit cards, answer sheets and joining letters, all fake, duping around 200 aspirants in the process.
The latest scam to hit the capital follows the arrest of Mange Ram Acharya, 46, and his three associates on June 14, for running their very own Board of Higher Secondary Education. The gang eventually admitted to having issued thousands of fake certificates to about 330 city schools.
"In all these cases, the racketeers have used their experience, their erstwhile role in the system to their advantage. White-collar crime has always existed in one way or another for a simple reason — it has a wider range in terms of victims and can earn more dividends, instead of getting blood on your hands for meager profit," said DCP Chand.
In the last three months 45 persons have been arrested in such scams across the city. It is believed that 1000 people have been duped, and the monetary loss is to the tune of Rs 100 crore.