Victims were defrauded of Rs. 13.25 lakh by two ‘education consultants’

It’s been nearly nine months since Shaskikala M.S. and her family were defrauded of Rs. 13.25 lakh by two “education consultants” who promised them a medical seat under the management quota for their daughter, Greeshma, at the S. Ninjalingappa Medical College in Bagalkot.

Let down by the police that has claimed it has no leads on the case — even as they have informed Ms. Shashikala that they were contacted by the accused’s advocates — they even petitioned the Chief Minister. Despite a directive by the Chief Minister to the Director-General of Police to submit a detailed report on the matter, there has been little development in the case.

Their daughter, who lost an entire year, is now going through the admissions process.

However, having invested their entire life’s savings, including a mortgage on their house and a substantial withdrawal from their provident funds, the couple is now worried that they will not be able to pay her fees. “We believed in the system, and thought that by the next academic year the money would be returned to us,” says Ms. Shashikala, who is convinced that the police inaction in this case has to do with the fact that they were the victims of a much larger racket, which carries on in educational institutes with tacit support from authorities and the police.

Ms. Shashikala says: “The police does not appear inclined to solve the case. We have provided them with at least three solid trails.” These include the bank account of the agent who actually took the money (and later made a return deposit of Rs. 25,000 after the case was reported in the media), CCTV images of the touts taken from the bank, and names and contact numbers of all those they have been in touch with during the entire transaction. They also handed over to the police a landline number and address in Jaibharatnagar, from where they have received calls from the agent.

They believe that members in the college administration are in cahoots with these touts. “In fact, we have even got calls from people in Thiruvananthapuram, who claim to be related to students there, trying to convince us that the college administration is innocent. We believe that there are other students from Kerala, studying in the college, that are helping execute the racket.”

Initially, they tried to approach the college with the fake admission letter that bears the signature of the principal on what appears to be the college letter-head. “They refused to have anything to do with us. The very officials who then told us that these agents were a legitimate part of the college’s admission process, and even facilitated a short meeting with the principal, now deny even having seen us before.” Ms. Shashikala says that her family was on the verge on an emotional breakdown, when she decided to pursue the case. She has been travelling routinely to Bagalkot and to Bangalore to talk to various officials about the case. “We have no option but to fight this out to the end,” she says.

Attempts to contact the college on Saturday proved futile. The Hindu had first reported on this case in November 2011.