Agents collected Rs. 13.25 lakh promising admission to a medical college

It has been a harrowing month-and-a-half for Mohanan M.S. and his family. Cheated out of Rs. 13.25 lakh by admission agents and “education consultants”, who took the money in exchange for a medical seat under the management quota at the S. Ninjalingappa Medical College in Bagalkot, Mr. Mohanan and his daughter Greeshma arrived at the college to complete admission formalities on October 19 only to discover that the entire “transaction” was a fraud.

College officials said that they had nothing to do with the transaction, and told them that the admission letter they had brought, bearing the signature of the principal on the college letter, was a fake. Since then, Mr. Mohanan and family have been running from pillar to post, between the police and the Education department, seeking a detailed investigation of the fraud.

While Mr. Mohanan says that the directive by the Chief Minister to the Director General of Police to submit a detailed report on the matter (in response to his complaint against the “improper investigation” being conducted by the Bagalkot police) has given his family “some hope”, he points out that his daughter has lost a year of her education, not to mention the financial pressure the family is under.

A government official from Kerala, Mr. Mohanan raised the sum by mortgaging his house and taking loans from bank and withdrawing his provident fund.

“This may be a small amount for the college, which transacts crores of rupees every year, but for my family it is our life's savings. With just five years of service left, how will I raise money again to educate my daughter,” he asks, his voice quivering in despair.

Pointing to the admission letter, Mr. Mohanan alleged that the fraud was carried out with top college officials in the know. This racket, he believes, is not a case in isolation. The agents, who are now untraceable, were seen dealing with other parents too, says Sasikala, his wife. Indeed, the trap was laid perfectly, for Mr. Mohanan was taken to the college, introduced to admission officials and even presented before the principal of the college. So when the agents told him that they were authorised to collect the money, he did not suspect any fraud.

When contacted, Chavan, sub-inspector of Navanagar police station in Bagalkot, said that investigation was on. He, however, said that there were no significant leads. He said that the CCTV footage of the agents recorded at the time of withdrawal of the amount from the Bagalkot branch of the State Bank of India have been shared with police stations all over the State. “However, there are absolutely no leads,” he added.

Mr. Mohanan, who got in touch with an agent who worked for “Global Consultancy”, a firm in Jayanagar, was taken to the college by agents. After the amount, which included an annual fee of Rs. 3.5 lakh and donation amount to the trust that runs the college, was paid, the agents told them that the admission date had been postponed. The agents then went incommunicado a week before admission date.

Several attempts to contact the college officials proved unsuccessful.

Keywords: Cheating case

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