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Indian students hit by fraud

delhi Updated: Feb 04, 2011 00:12 IST
Charu Sudan Kasturi

California-based Tri Valley University is only the latest in a series of frauds stretching across continents that have claimed Indian students seeking foreign education as victims, exposing the vulnerability of students to cheat institutions.

From massive Australia to tiny Malta, traditionally attractive hubs like the UK and the US to China, Russia and countries in Eastern Europe, Indian students are increasingly finding themselves duped, complaints and government records accessed by HT suggest.

“What is particularly troubling is that the cases appear to be growing in frequency,” a government source said, adding that on several occasions, Indian missions have been left embarrassed because of the absence of details on Indian students in different countries.

In 2006, a stunned Indian high Ccommission in Britain had to be alerted by MP John Randall about a scam, under which a fraud institution called the London College of Management was misleading dozens of Indians.

The LCM was attracting students by advertising in Indian newspapers, promising students UK degrees and laptops. The students who had complained to Randall found on arriving in the UK that the LCM was offering “worthless degrees from a Ukrainian university,” the report from Smita Purshottam, then minister in the Indian mission to the HRD ministry concluded. “It was embarrassing the students found it easier to approach a British MP than their own mission,” an official said.

A year earlier, in 2005, the Indian embassy in China received a series of complaints from students, who had joined the medical course at the Xinxiang Medical College. The students accused the institution of luring them with the “false promise” that it had qualified English-speaking faculty.

In 2009 and 2010, the Indian mission in Australia received repeated complaints claiming students were cheated into joining courses by “fraudulent institutions.” In December 2009, five Indian students in Malta were detained who were treated as illegal immigrants.

Study abroad

2005: Indian embassy in China received complaints from students, who had joined the medical course at the Xinxiang Medical College

2006: Indian high commission in Britain was alerted about London College of Management, that was misleading Indians

2009: 5 Indian students were detained in Malta, treated as illegal immigrants

2010: Indian mission in Australia received complaints claiming students were cheated into joining courses.