Six racketeers conducted recruitments for posts in non-existent force

In an ingenious method, a gang self-christened Animal Special Police allegedly swindled job aspirants of over Rs. 30 crore.

Six of the racketeers, including the kingpin, were rounded up by the city police on Thursday morning at Periyar Thidal in Vepery, where the gang, proclaiming to be a force working towards the protection of animals, was holding group discussions and job interviews for 400 youngsters.

Speaking to The Hindu, one of the victims, Balakannan (25) from Tirunelveli, said that he had paid Rs. 6 lakh for the post of inspector. “They showed me government orders showing that it was a newly approved department of the Central government and the recruitment process was on for various posts for animal protection. They held a camp in Tirunelveli eight months ago where I paid the money after I received a uniform with ASP badges and stars,” the youth added.

Vepery police sources said, the six-member gang led by O.S. Bavani Babu (78) of Avvai Shanmugam Salai, Gopalapuram, visited various parts of the State including Chennai in the last one year, spread the word on recruitment and lured youngsters. They held camps and briefed aspirants, using forged letterheads with the Government of India seal.

They distributed uniforms with ‘ASP’ badges to victims in Tiruchi, Tirunelveli, Nagercoil and others parts of Tamil Nadu after collecting Rs. 6 lakh for the post of an inspector, Rs. 5 lakh for a sub inspector and Rs. 4 lakh for a constable.

Around 9.30 a.m. on Thursday, applicants gathered at Periyar Thidal after they were invited for group discussions and interviews. Some were promised appointment orders with details of their posting. Another session with 350 candidates was scheduled to be held at the venue on Friday, sources added.

“I received specific information from a representative of the Animal Welfare Board of India regarding a fraudulent job recruitment being held in Vepery. Assistant Commissioner of Police Krishnamoorthy was alerted and his team rushed in and apprehended six persons including Bavani Babu. We are probing further,” said S. George, Commissioner of Police.

The other suspects arrested were identified as Govindaraj (57) of Nagapattinam, Selvadas (42) of Sivagangai, Arumugam (48) of Tiruvarur, Saravanan (37) of Kumbakonam and Jayakumar (31) of Palani. The gang struck earlier in Sivagangai in 2010 and in Cuddalore in 2011, and were arrested for committing a similar fraud.

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