Two days after Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi stepped in to help a 13-year-old ‘orphan’ on hearing his poignant tale at the party’s youth rally in Palghar, it has come to light that the boy had lied to the Gandhi scion.
Rohit Dubey had, in fact, dropped out of school last year and run away from his Nalasopara home on January 23.
On January 29, Rohit had travelled to Palghar to meet Gandhi, who was on a three-day visit to Maharashtra.
When the boy told the Congress leader that he had dropped out of school after his parents’ death, Gandhi asked minister of state for tribal development Rajendra Gavit to take care of his education and update him about the boy’s progress.
Gavit made a fixed deposit provision of Rs 1 lakh for the boy and was going to give him the certificate on Monday, but then learnt that the boy had cooked up the story.
“Rahulji had given specific instructions regarding the boy and we could not ignore it. But then his [Rohit’s] parents turned up claiming that he had run away from home,” said Gavit.
Rohit’s father, Amarnath, 44, is an autorickshaw driver and his mother, Sangeeta, is suffering from ovarian cancer.
Dubey had to sell his autorickshaw last year to pay for his wife’s operation and it is around this time that Rohit dropped out of Thakur Vidyamandir High School.
“He is the youngest of my three children. My eldest daughter has completed Class 10 and is pursuing a computer course. My other son has also dropped out of school. In the last one year, Rohit has run away from home four to five times, but he would always return home,” said Dubey, who does odd jobs to sustain his family.
It was only when Dubey’s neighbours saw Rohit’s photograph in a newspaper on Sunday that his parents learnt that he was in Palghar.
“Though we are not financially well off, it was not right on his part to say that he was an orphan,” said Dubey, who blames Rohit’s friends for being a bad influence on him.
“Rohit used to sell clips on trains and would earn Rs 100-200 a day. So, he thought that he could earn without going to school. His friends had asked him to tell Rahul Gandhi that he was an orphan, thinking that they would get Rs 4,000, which they could then splurge,” said Dubey.
Despite calling Rohit’s bluff, Gavit has deposited the money with the local police station that will make a fixed deposit provision for the family. “We have given them the money on humanitarian grounds and have also asked the school to admit him from the next academic year.”