Kochi

Three FIRs against fitness institute on cheating, forgery charge

Three separate First Information Reports (FIRs) have been registered by the Kalamassery police in two months against an a city-based fitness institute on multiple charges, including cheating and forgery.

While the first FIR against the institute was registered on October 9 on a petition by Vijesh P.M. of Chengamanad, the other two were registered on November 27 after the petitioners, Muhammad Aslam of Alangad and Prince Varghese of Idukki, got them endorsed by the Kalamassery First Class Judicial Magistrate through criminal miscellaneous petitions (CMPs). A similar FIR has been registered against the Thrissur branch of the institute at the Chalissery police station in Palakkad based on a CMP filed by Shamsudheen P.

The FIRs have arraigned seven to nine accused, including the executive director of the institute in Thrissur on charges under IPC Sections (criminal breach of trust), 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property) 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating), 471 (using as genuine a forged document) and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention).

All the petitioners had claimed to have paid between ₹1.25 lakh and ₹1.35 lakh for the 52-day programme offering seven certification courses, including the ones recognised by authorised agencies in India and abroad. The allegations levelled against the institute included not conducting the course nor issuing the certificates on time besides issuing forged certificates.

“Instead of issuing authentic certificates by the authority concerned, we were issued forged certificates. Besides, a multiple choice question exam was held arbitrarily after which even the question papers were taken away and results were alerted in an opaque manner over WhatsApp. Candidates were deliberately made to fail and extra fees were collected for reappearance,” said Mr. Vijesh, a fitness trainer for over a decade and who joined the course in April.

However, Sandeep R. Menon, executive director of IBIS Academy, dubbed the petitions as a vicious and instigated campaign by a Kannur-based lobby. “We have all the necessary accreditations and are authorised to issue certificates. The same bunch of people are filing petitions against us in different places. Some of them wanted to be issued certificates without clearing the exams and we didn’t budge,” he said.

More people have written to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on the matter while at least two more persons are planning to approach the court in Pathanamthitta and Thrissur with CMP unless the police acted on their petitions.

“Around 12 of us had petitioned the Deputy Commissioner of Kochi city who forwarded it to Assistant Commissioner, Thrikkakara. Following a meeting of the representatives of the petitioners and the institute, the officer was convinced that prima facie, a crime had been committed and the petitions were forwarded to the Kalamasserry police station for further action,”: said Mr. Shamsudheen.

The Kalamassery police, however, initially registered only one FIR on the petition of Mr. Vijesh while others had to approach the court to get the FIR registered.

“We are in the process of collecting evidence. The investigation is likely to take time since we will have to get in touch with the authorised bodies abroad through the Ministry of External Affairs,” said Kalamassery police sources.


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Printable version | Jan 19, 2022 9:39:13 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/three-firs-against-fitness-institute-on-cheating-forgery-charge/article37797183.ece

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