Gang duping students busted
Lured victims with promise of admission
In August, Subhashith Pati, 31, and Samarjeet Panda, 41, were vacationing at a beach in Goa. As they headed to return bikes from a rental shop, they were confronted by the Cubbon Park police.
Pati and Panda are part of a seven-member gang led by one Soumyajeeth Mohanty, who took advantage of the demand for medical and engineering courses in colleges in Karnataka to dupe several students from outside the State by promising to get them admission.
Based on information provided by the duo, inspector Ayyanna Reddy flashed a message to another team, which rushed to a resort in Chennai in Tamil Nadu, and arrested Aashish, the third accused in the case.
So far, as many as 10 cases have been registered against the accused, said Mr. Reddy.
Mastermind Mohanty, however, escaped by a whisker after being tipped off by one of the other accused. He has made ₹5 crore this year alone by cheating several people, Mr. Reddy added.
According to the police, Mohanty, a B.E. graduate from Bhubaneshwar in Odisha, set up a consultancy firm to lure students and parents desperate for a professional degree.
Using his sources in counselling agencies, Mohanty would obtain a list of students who had appeared for the entrance exams and targeted repeaters. He hired telecallers to approach these students, who offered to get them admission to medical and engineering colleges across India. The students were asked to contact Mohanty.
Mohanty would first meet the students and parents. He then would take his victims to reputed colleges on the pretext of talking to the management. Asking the victims to wait outside, he would walk into the chamber of an officer on the pretext of making an enquiry. On coming out, he would assure the victims that the deal was settled and demand cash ranging from ₹30 lakh to ₹50 lakh.
If the victims said they would give a demand draft or transfer the money online, Mohanty would give the account numbers of his staff at his call centre, Mr. Reddy added.
After receiving the money, Mohanty would hand over an admission letter with a fake seal and signature of the college. He would then ask his associates to switch off their phones and buy new SIM cards.
Mohanty and his associates — Pati, Panda, Aashish, Ilyas, Anil Mukharjee and Manoj Das — allegedly duped hundreds of people in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and West Bengal, the police said. They added that there were many complaints against Mohanty in Bhubaneshwar too.
The gang would target those who were desperate to get into professional courses.