Did ryan’s pintos scout for rajya sabHa, padma awards?
Many murky things are coming out of the cupboard of the Pinto family, which owns the 135 Ryan group of schools in 18 states across the country and abroad, comprising three lakh students, and in the enws over the murder of a seven-year-old boy is one of its Gurugram schools. What knowledgeable sources have revealed to The Sunday Guardian smacks of a bid to expand the empire. Behind the scenes is the lurking figure of a controversial journalist. A government agency is also checking out allegations about huge “foreign funding”. The group’s founder is Augustine F. Pinto, an economics graduate of the Loyola College, Chennai. He was born in a poor farmer’s family in Mangalore, Karnataka. In search of a job, he shifted to Mumbai, where he started working in a shoe manufacturing firm. The factory closed after two years. He then got a job in a school. That is where he learnt the business of education. Like so many self-styled men, he claims that “40 years ago, God planted a seed in my heart and directed me to spread affordable high quality English medium education.” His wife, Grace Pinto, is the group’s managing director. Their son, Ryan Pinto, is the CEO. It was after his birth that the Pinto couple started the school chain. The Pintos’ story began in 1976, with their first educational institution, St Xavier’s High School, in Borivli East, Mumbai, with Rs 10,000 only. The family’s five brands are: Ryan International School, Ryan Global School, Ryan Foundation, Indian Model United Nations and Ryan Shalom Preschool. Sources say that as the empire started expanding, the family’s ambitions also started rising. The family started hobnobbing with top politicians, including Prime Ministers and even Congress president Sonia Gandhi. They got bureaucrats to procure land for schools in different states. Pinto moved fast to become Mumbai’s Mayor. Over a decade ago, Grace Pinto is reported to have started looking for an influential person who could help her or her husband get a Rajya Sabha seat, the Padma awards and membership in the Minorities Commission. She zeroed in on a television journalist and his award winning wife about a decade ago. The journalist, who had claimed that he was working for a big Pakistani TV channel, in the meanwhile, ended up becoming a top office bearer of the Press Club of India (PCI). We spoke to two trusted sources on this, one, the editor-cumproprietor of now a defunct Hindi weekly tabloid, and another the political editor of a Hindi daily. We spoke to them separately and both corroborated each other. They tell us that one day the PCI office bearer approached them (separately) and sought their help to get either Grace Pinto or her husband nominated to the Rajya Sabha under Anglo-Indian or any other category. Also, he sought their help to get them the Padma awards and a berth in the Minorities Commission. Both journalists were approached because of their political connections. The TV journalist also told them that their interests would be taken care of and some admissions to schools would be made on their recommendation. One of our sources said that his lunch meeting with “Lady Grace” was arranged at the India International Centre, where she used to stay when in Delhi. He says that “I found her holding a durbar in her room, touching the head of the visitors—sitting on the ground—and with closed eyes, whispering blessings.” That was our source’s first and last meeting with her. The TV journalist moved on to some politicians to seek help in the Pintos’ mission and started doing public relations for the group. But soon he severed ties with the Press Club. It was also discovered that he used to ferry journalists to a notorious high commission on its national day. Meanwhile, photographs of the Pintos in the company of top ministers from different regimes have surfaced on the social media.