Wanting to pursue a course in aeronautical engineering, G. Suresh Kumar paid about Rs.10,000 to an educational institution in 2005 only to find that it was an illegal setup. Eventually the promoters of the college were arrested but Mr. Kumar and many like him have not been refunded in all these years.

Three arrested

In 2005, the Jnanabharati police arrested three persons for running the illegal institution, Bangalore Institute of Aeronautical Engineering and Information Technology, from a rented building on 80 Foot Road, Nagarabhavi, near Bangalore University.

Mr. Kumar, who lived in Hyderabad, applied for the aeronautical engineering course after he saw advertisements in local papers, said his brother Venusree. “The admission too was on a one-to-one basis and therefore we could not interact with other students at the time,” he said, adding that they came to the city as Bangalore held prospects of good job opportunities in the IT sector.

However, Mr. Kumar did not attend the course as the college ambience led him to doubt its credibility. Not surprisingly, the fraud was exposed soon after. Many students, including Mr. Kumar, filed a complaint following which the accused Venkateshwara Rao (27), Haribabu (25), and Prempradeep (27), all from Khammam in Andhra Pradesh, were arrested. There were reportedly 440 students who had been cheated. All had paid fees ranging from Rs. 10,000 and Rs. 60,000 to enrol in the courses advertised by the institution.

Jnanabharati police said the then Director of Technical Education Basavaraj had also filed a complaint in April 2005 against the accused for violating the provisions of the Education Act.

They were booked under Section 420 for fraud. However the case was transferred to Chandra Layout police in May 2005.

Mr. Venusree said he had accompanied his brother and two other students from Hyderabad who had fallen prey to the fraud, to the police. They also met the Andhra Pradesh State Council of Higher Education authorities regarding the case.

But there was no promise of the refund of the fee they had already paid and Mr. Venusree claims the case was closed without refunding the students. He said that the same management advertised once again for admissions in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka in 2006.

Director of Technical Education H.U. Talwar said he was not aware of the case, adding that in the past three years all cases related to engineering colleges and affiliated institutions were being handled by the Visvesvaraya Technological University (VTU) and the All-India Council for Technical Education (AICTE).

VTU Vice-Chancellor H. Maheshappa too expressed ignorance. “The AICTE too has continuously issued warnings but many students get trapped in such cases because they are not aware,” he said.

The AICTE authorities were unavailable for comment.