Fresh out of college and jobless, Rajkot resident Harsh S Nar, 21, desperately wanted a government job. In August last year, when the B Com graduate saw an advertisement in Sandesh newspaper - a prominent Gujarat weekly - offering jobs in the ‘Indian Government Secret Service’, he thought he had found his calling.
He called the phone number in the advertisement and within days, received an appointment letter on an MHA letterhead with the stamp of an Ashoka emblem. Harsh was asked to deposit Rs 35,000 and reach Delhi to report at the Ministry of Home Affairs.
When he packed his bags and left for Delhi, he did not know he had been conned by two men, who release such advertisement across the country, promising jobs and fleeing with the security deposit.
The Delhi Police crime branch arrested two persons, Arjun and Suresh, for allegedly duping people from remote towns of Uttarakhand, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and UP, on the pretext of offering them government jobs.
Just like Harsh, the gang had promised over 200 persons jobs, who contacted them after reading their ads in the paper, with the Defence Ministry, BCCI, Ministry of Home Affairs and other government departments. The police have recovered over 190 speed post receipts of the fake appointment letters.
“I was a fool to have believed them. The men said they were from the ministry and asked me to deposit a sum of Rs 16,000 as processing fee in their account. Later, I again got a call. They asked me to deposit a sum of Rs 19,000 for my medical before attending the training on September 6. I did as instructed,” said Harsh.
On a letterhead of the Department of India Welfare Association under MHA, the job offer said he had been selected for the ‘secret services’. His contract would be for six months and that he would be paid Rs 32,500 per month.
“The letter read if selected after probation, I would be inducted permanently into the department. The letter categorically said I would work as a ‘secret soldier’ and that I should keep my job a secret from everyone. I remember I was so excited at the time. Now, I feel like an idiot ,” he said.
Investigating officials say that for each letter, the con men would change the seal on top of the appointment letter. The two had procured seals of all ministries. They had also prepared fake official letterheads on which the letter was drafted.
When Harsh reached Delhi and tried to call them, their phone was switched off. Harsh then went directly to the address mentioned in his ‘appointment letter’.
“I reached South Block B and saw the government buildings for the first time. I was ecstatic. But soon I found out that the address was wrong and that no such office existed. I was told that many like me had arrived there before. It was a scam. I was heart broken,” he said.
An investigator said, “These con men are smart. They ask the applicants to reach South Block to lend them an air of authenticity. Nobody in these small towns knows the difference between North and South Blocks. They realise that they have been fooled only when they reach Delhi. By then, it is too late.”