Fake MBBS admission racket involved in duping NEET aspirants busted
Bhopal: Busting a cybercrime racket that had been duping NEET candidates on the pretext of MBBS admission to Private Medical Colleges, Bhopal Cyber Crime branch has detained all the three masterminds of the racket on Wednesday.
The accused have been arrested from Indore and Pune for duping almost 172 NEET candidates with Rs 50,000 to Rs 2,00,000 each. Reportedly, the total amount would be in crores. Police have formed a WhatsApp group of NEET aspirants duped by this scam and have asked them to contact police. Many more such candidates could be revealed during the investigation.
The Bhopal Police have seized 15 computers, 12 laptops, 27 mobile phones, 13 ATM cards, passports, bank cheque books and other documents from the gang members. The main three members have been identified by police as Arugunda Arvind Kumar alias Anand Rao, Anamika (Name Changed), and Rakesh Kumar Pawar.
Investigating on the basis of a complaint filed by NEET aspirant Kartik Malviya, the Bhopal Police have come to know that Arvind, a former gold medallist in MTech from Osmania University in Hyderabad, had developed the fake website called www.neetcounselling.com to lure NEET aspirants. The racket used to operate via a call centre at Vijay Nagar in Indore, controlled by Rakesh Kumar Pawar. Anamika used to take care of the counselling process. The racket had other offices in Pune and Bangalore. Although many other employees had been working in the call centre, they had no idea about these fraud activities. However, the main three members had known everything from the scratch.
As per the latest media report by the Times of India, ASP Ankit Jaiswal informed that the kingpin of the gang Arvind had purchased the details of the NEET candidates from online websites including www.studentsdatabase.com. After getting hold of the information, the call centre executives would contact the candidates by sending them bulk SMS and also requested them to visit www.neetcounselling.com for getting details of available seats in medical colleges where they could take admission according to their marks.
If a candidate would register on the website, the racket members would call them for counselling at various hotels. Following this, the candidates would be given a choice of several packages ranging from Rs 5,000 to Rs 2,00,000. They would be lured by saying that if they could pay more than 50 thousand, the company would arrange for their admission to medical college through their agents. However, after taking the money from the candidate, they would stop all kinds of contacts with the students.
ASP Jaiswal has further informed TOI that a total number of 172 candidates have been found to be duped in a similar manner, including 26 from MP and 24 from Maharashtra.
The Bhopal Police started investigating the matter on the basis of a complaint filed by one such NEET candidate Kartik Malviya. He had alleged before the police in January that he received a call from representatives of Indore based website www.neetcounselling.com after he had registered on their website. Over the phone call, he had been asked to be present at a hotel in MP Nagar for a counselling session along with 15-16 other candidates.
ASP Jaiswal has further informed the daily that when Kartik reached the counselling venue, the accused revealed their several packages worth Rs 5000, Rs 25000 and Rs 50000. The candidates were told that for the Rs 5,000 package, they would be counselled and guided about the medical colleges where they could take admission, by the company. For the Rs 25,000 package, they would get extra help to complete the admission process and for the Rs 50,000 package, the company would ensure that the candidates would get admitted to private medical college through their agents. Kartik opted for the Rs 50,000 package and after the payment, the accused stopped all contacts with him as per the plan. Following this, he approached the Police to file a complaint.
After the investigation started, the Police traced two bank accounts where Kartik transferred the money. A CCTV footage of Anamika was also recovered by the Police. Following this, the Bhopal Police tracked the website office and call centre at Vijay Nagar in Indore from where Anamika and Rakesh were nabbed. Later, Police arrested the mastermind, Arvind, from his Pune office.
Giving more information about the kingpin of the gang, DSP Nitu Thakur informed the daily that Arvind, a gold medallist of Osmania University pursued his MTech in 'Signal Processing'. After that, he used to work at coaching centres as teaching faculty and had come to Indore in 2019. During the lockdown, he designed the website to dupe NEET candidates and started operating the call centres from June 2020. He employed Anamika and Rakesh through a job portal and made them his accomplices.