20-yr-old loses opportunity to pursue a course in UK after friend dupes him of ₹9.10L | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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20-yr-old loses opportunity to pursue a course in UK after friend dupes him of 9.10L

ByManish K Pathak
Jun 11, 2024 07:30 AM IST

A 20-year-old student and his mother were duped of ₹9.10 lakh by a friend promising subsidized fees for a finance degree in the UK. FIR filed against the accused.

MUMBAI: Dreams of pursuing a three-year finance degree in the United Kingdom turned into a nightmare for a 20-year-old aspirant and his mother after his friend, who promised to secure admission at subsidised rates, duped them with 9.10 lakh.

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According to police officials, Vikhroli resident Deep Malekar, 20, wanted to study in England after completing his Class XII examination in 2022. His parent, Mansi Sanjay Malekar, 47, a single mother, supported his dreams and asked him to apply to various colleges in the UK.

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Weeks later, Deep was delighted to receive an acceptance letter from Kingston University in London to pursue an Accounting and Finance BSc (Hons). Kingston is a public research university and places a strong emphasis on employability and industry connections.

After losing his father in 2020, Deep had a laser beam focus on his studies and excelling in his career and therefore he was looking forward to studying in London. However, all this was about to change when Deep’s classmate Abhimanyu Surendra, contacted him. The police said Abhimanyu told Deep that he was applying to international universities and learnt of a Delhi-based NGO from one of his friends Ashutosh Pagare that subsidises tuition fees. He told Deep that Pagare would also be able to reduce his course fees.

Later, both Abhimanyu and Ashutosh visited Deep’s residence in Vikhroli and convinced Deep and his mother that the NGO in Delhi has helped several aspiring students secure admission to Kingston University at lesser fees. “They said the annual fees would be reduced by around 35% (from 13 lakh to 9.10 lakh) if we paid the fees through the NGO,” said Deep’s mother Mansi Malekar, adding “The two then said the money should be deposited to their bank accounts.”

Accordingly, Mansi deposited the amount demanded by Abhimanyu and Ashutosh; sometimes in their personal accounts and in their relatives’ accounts. Mansi said she paid the first instalment on April 6, 2022, in Pagare’s bank account and Pagare gave a receipt for the payment. Thereafter, till April 20, 2022, she paid a total 9.10 lakh to the accused.

After paying the fee, Deep sent an email to the university asking about the admission and got confirmation that a fee 60,000 had been paid for the admission. But in June 2022, the university sent another email to him that the transaction by which the admission fee was paid through a credit card had been reversed and that he needed to pay the fees, said Mansi Malakar.

Mansi added that in June 2022 the university instructed him to pay the fees in time and failure to comply with the time schedule would lead to the cancellation of his admission. The 47-year-old then spoke to Ashutosh Pagare, who told her that they had paid the amounts to two members of the NGO Vikas Yadav and Ravi Ranjan and promised to return their money as soon as they received it from the two.

Mansi said after rigorously pursuing the matter with the accused, they returned an amount of 3.90 lakh, but Deep lost the opportunity to pursue the course at Kingston University, as his admission was cancelled for non-payment of fees. She said her son is now pursuing a correspondence course in finance and business administration from Mumbai University.

After being duped, Mansi approached the Vikhroli police and filed a written complaint. “An FIR was registered on Sunday against Ashutosh Pagare, Vikas Yadav and Ravi Ranjan under sections 406 (criminal breach of trust) and 420 (cheating), 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code,” said a police officer of the Vikhroli police station.

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