Bogus PAN cards, women tele-callers: How gang cheated 17 medical aspirants of ₹3.02 crore
Mumbai city news: The gang initially operated from a rented house in Kopar Khairane, and shifted to Sanpada in April last yearmumbai Updated: Jul 08, 2017 11:34 IST
Bogus PAN cards, student databases and women tele-callers — a combination of these helped a gang cheat 17 medical aspirants in Navi Mumbai Rs3.02 crore in four months.
Police recently busted the multi-crore MBBS admission scam and arrested seven accused. A few others are yet to be traced, they said.
The gang initially operated from a rented house in Kopar Khairane, and shifted to Sanpada in April last year, said Prashant Burde, joint commissioner of police, Navi Mumbai.
They set up an office called ‘The Aspirations’ near Sanpada railway station complex. Using bogus PAN cards and voter identity cards, the gang opened accounts at different banks.
“Using information obtained from different sites, the gang made a database of students who had cleared the NEET exam recently. They hired seven or eight women to work as tele-callers. These women contacted the students and their parents, saying they had tie-ups with Kashibai Nawale College in Pune, Terna Medical College in Nerul and Arvind Medical College in Indore. They told parents they could secure seats for their children through a ‘management quota’,” he said.
As many as 17 parents deposited money in the gang’s bank accounts. The accused shut their office on September 23 last year and fled.
A few parents approached the police, who registered a complaint against the accused. Within a few weeks, the case was transferred to the economic offences wing (EoW), which operates under the city crime branch.
“The accused had fled to different places. We sent officials to look for them. We arrested five of the gang’s members from Delhi in February — Abhishek Jha, 25; Saurabh Singh, 24; Gaurav Singh, 26; Sushilkumar Verma, 30; and Hemandra Sarkar, 31 — but they refused to divulge information during interrogation. Further investigations led us to Rishikesh Singh alias Mukesh Bhagat, 31, the main accused. We arrested him and accused Atirek Sinha, 29, from Bangalore on Tuesday,” said Tushar Doshi, deputy commissioner of police (crime branch).
Police recovered scores of bogus PAN cards, voter identity cards and SIM cards from the gang. The accused were produced before a judicial court and remanded in police custody till July 10.
Police said they were investigating whether the accused duped residents of other cities using the same modus operandi. They have also asked Navi Mumbai residents to be wary of agents or middlemen who promise to secure engineering or medical seats for their children.
“After Class 12, medical and engineering aspirants sit for several entrance examinations. Students who fail to make the merit list desperately look for unscrupulous ways to get into good institutions. Touts take advantage of this,” said a college principal, who did not wish to be identified.
The touts offer to help these students secure seats in premier engineering or medical colleges in exchange for sums ranging from Rs20 lakh to Rs60 lakh. “Touts visit colleges and look for students who do not feature in the merit list,” said the principal.