Today in New Delhi, India
Dec 13, 2018-Thursday
New Delhi
  • Humidity
  • Wind

Action against Chandigarh boy who ‘fell for Rs 1.4-cr Google job hoax’?

HT also learnt that the ‘offer letter’ and the press release was shared by the education department PRO on a WhatsApp group which has nearly 50 officers as members, many of whom even lauded the child.

punjab Updated: Aug 04, 2017 15:54 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Google job hoax,Harshit Sharma,WhatsApp fraud
(Reuters/Representative image)

The 16-year-old boy who claimed to have got a job offer from Google that later emerged as a hoax is said to be depressed and in a “miserable” condition, while the UT administration seems to have learnt its own set of lessons.

Education department officials were on Thursday going through a report submitted by the principal of Government Model Senior Secondary School (GMSSS), Sector 33, Indra Beniwal — who had first issued a press release about alumnus Harshit Sharma’s “achievement” — and the class teacher whom he first met and shared the news with. It is learnt that the principal and the teacher shared their side of the story in detail and how they received the purported offer letter over WhatsApp messaging service from Harshit.

It was on Saturday that the public relations department of UT had issued a statement that Harshit Sharma would get Rs 12 lakh per month as salary after a year’s training by Google. During training, it was claimed, he would get a stipend of Rs 4 lakh per month. After widespread coverage by the media, Google on Tuesday denied having offered paid training and job to Harshit. Later family members too clarified that Harshit got a hoax call, and not a letter, informing him about his selection for the post of graphic designer from Google.

The UT administration on Tuesday had ordered a probe to ascertain how the official statement was issued on the claims of a boy. Harshit, a native of Kurukshetra in Haryana, had completed Class 12 from GMSSS-33 this year.

Director, school education, (DSE) Rubinderjit Singh Brar has now asked deputy DSE Saroj Mittal to look into the allegations made by the principal before they submit the final report to the education secretary on Friday. Brar said, “We are still inquiring.”

While sources said the education department was planning to initiate criminal proceedings against the student, the administration’s top officials wanted to take some more time to mull over the issue before they decide what action is to be taken and against whom. Concerned over the “child’s ill health”, officials of the administration stated they wanted to take some more time before holding anyone to task.

Did admn run check?

Meanwhile, education department’s senior officials plan to issue an advisory against principal Beniwal and public relations officer (PRO) of the education department Rajpal after this episode. Brar is also learnt to have told with his staff to ensure no press release is sent to the director, public relations, office of the administration without his knowledge, while emphasising the need to have “a proper mechanism” in place to avoid such instances in future.

However, HT also learnt that the ‘offer letter’ and the press release was shared by the education department PRO on a WhatsApp group which has nearly 50 officers as members, many of whom even lauded the child. This, despite the fact that the letter had grammatical errors that raised doubts.

‘Lesson for all’

HT also learnt that during an unofficial meeting of officials of the administration’s PR department, a strict warning was given to ensure that all press releases are verified in the future. An official requesting anonymity told HT, “The mechanism is already in place. When we receive a release from any department, we assume it’s been checked by the head of the department. If that wasn’t done, it is wrong. We can’t be blamed for not checking with so many departments individually.”

The person added that a similar incident had occurred when the finance department had sent a release about a policy’s notification which had already been notified. “It is a learning for all of us,” the official added.

First Published: Aug 03, 2017 22:15 IST