The police have identified the gang that helped its clients procure fake and forged documents to obtain admissions for nursery seats under the economically weaker section (EWS) category in the Capital.
Police sources said that the kingpin of the gang is a woman called Punita. She has a team of six members who procured forged income certificates for their clients and sold it to them for several lakhs.
Investigation has so far revealed that the gang has a strong network among employees in different schools and sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) offices across the city.
“It was believed many schools are misusing this method to sell seats to well-off candidates at a hefty amount. This means the government scheme made especially for the economically weaker sections of the society is being misused for personal gains...This initiated an inquiry into the matter and the gang was identified,” a police source said.
It was found that the gang uses a unique modus operandi to get admissions done under the EWS quota. “The gang does not take orders to make forged documents in advance. They first apply in various schools on their own with random sets of children and parents (virtual names). After their candidate’s names appear in the list of selected students, they used to look for prospective clients who are desperately seeking admissions,” police sources said.
After they identified needy clients, they used to charge a hefty amount from them for each admission. Once the admission process used to get over, the said parents used to apply for the change of names and other details by filing affidavits.
“The admissions were done in the name that was provided by the agents. The clients later used to get the names changed by giving affidavits. The gang used to direct their clients to do so. They told their clients that they will get the admission done and after taking the money from them, they used to hand over all the required admission documents to them,” sources said.
“Since the admissions were being done under a virtual name which was being later changed by the clients, we suspect that the schools were in the know and were also getting a commission. However, it has not been verified yet and facts will become clear once the agents are arrested and thoroughly interrogated,” sources said.
The crime branch has registered a case and initiated an enquiry and asked major private schools in the city to furnish all records of nursery admissions made in 2014-2015. Notices were sent to Rohini’s GD Goenka School, Delhi Public School (DPS) and Lancer Convent, and Raghubir Singh Junior Modern School at Humayun Road among others.
Notices were also sent to concerned SDM offices to verify the certificates issued by them.
In one particular case, two income certificates were issued for one student by executive magistrates in Alipur and Rohini for admission to two different schools. However, the student’s name on both certificates was changed at the time of admission.
Both Alipur and Rohini executive magistrates denied issuing the certificates.
Principal of GD Goenka School in Rohini Ritu Pathak told HT: “When we give admissions to students, we do not check the authenticity of the documents submitted by them as we do not have the resources for it. We take it on face value. We would never have understood if the certificates were original or fake had the crime branch not informed us. We are cooperating with the police and will furnish records.”
Principal of Lancer Convent School Latesh Chaudhary said even though doubts arose during admissions the school did not inform the police. “One person had submitted two certificates with different signatures. We, however, did not inform the police and called the parents to enquire. Meanwhile, the police approached us themselves saying they have noticed some discrepancies in the admission procedure across schools. They seized our complete data, including all certificates for scrutiny. We will fully cooperate with the police,” Chaudhary said.
HT’s calls, text messages and emails to authorities at Raghubir Singh Junior Modern School, Humayun Road and DPS, Rohini through went unanswered.
The police are trying to trace the racket’s kingpin who got the fake income certificates made and appears to be selling them in return for a hefty amount. Delhi has close to 1.25 lakh nursery seats up for grabs for around 1.5 lakh applicants. Every school is required to reserve 25% seat for students from the EWS category.