Written tests, interviews at govt offices: How con men trap job-seekers

Police files show that hundreds of aspirants have become victims of mushrooming job rackets in Delhi.

Updated: Sep 20, 2018 08:49:49

By Karn Pratap Singh

Delhi Police busted one such pan-India job racket in which aspirants were duped of Rs 22 lakh after promising them jobs in the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC). (Representative image)

For Satish Kumar, 22, son of a farmer in Rajasthan’s Jhunjhunu, a job in Indian Railways was like a dream come true, even if he had to pay Rs 8 lakh to get it. A government job as ‘ticket collector’(TC) in the railways with a Rs 40,000 per month starting salary, plus perks and a secure future, meant a lot.

Kumar was told to start as a trainee, first at Delhi’s Adarsh Nagar railway station, and then at Uttar Pradesh’s Muzaffarnagar railway station. For two months, Kumar did his 10am to 5pm duty at the two stations, during which time he was asked to record the arrival and departure timing of all trains. He was issued an identity card and received Rs 6,500 and Rs 8,500 in his bank account as his trainee’s salary for the first two months.

Kumar’s problems began when he completed his “probation” and did not receive the promised salary of Rs 40,000. He tried to contact the people who had helped him get the job but their phones were switched off. He then visited the Railway Board office in New Delhi and was told that the appointment letter was fake.

Kumar’s case is not a solitary one.

On Tuesday, Delhi Police busted one such pan-India job racket in which aspirants were duped of Rs 22 lakh after promising them jobs in the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC). Seven men — two of them employees of the rural development ministry, a software engineer and a web designer — were arrested. Police said the arrested men conducted interviews of job aspirants in the highly secured premises of Krishi Bhawan, which houses key Union ministries.

Deputy commissioner of police (crime), Bhisham Singh, said their probe revealed that the fraudsters sent interview confirmation emails to candidates through accounts that was similar to ones used by ONGC. They also used mobile apps to make the job applicants believe that they had indeed received a call from the landline number of the corporation. The interviews were conducted at the vacant offices of senior officials at Krishi Bhawan with the help of the two junior employees of the rural development ministry.

“Their objective was to win the confidence of candidates by making everything look genuine,” Singh said, adding the arrested men admitted to having conned over two dozen job aspirants over the last three or four years.

“Whenever such fraudulent activities are brought to notice, ONGC takes necessary actions,” an ONGC spokesperson said.

Police files show that hundreds of aspirants are victims of mushrooming job rackets.

From conducting physical eligibility tests, written exams and medical tests at government offices and hospitals, to paying ‘salaries’ during the ‘training’ period, Delhi’s job racketeers excel at manipulating the system and duping job aspirants, often in collusion with government officials.

In 2018, the Delhi Police busted at least eight fake employment rackets and arrested 30 people from different gangs who had duped hundreds of job aspirants from Delhi, Rajasthan, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and Hyderabad. They were promised jobs in Indian Railways, Indian Army and Territorial Army, Food Corporation of India, ONGC and various nationalised banks.

“What is unique about these gangs is their modus operandi that is too good to be true,” said deputy commissioner of police (crime), Ram Gopal Naik, who busted one of the rackets in May that promised jobs in the Indian Territorial Army.

Five men, including one serving and two retired Army personnel, were arrested for allegedly cheating seven men from Haryana of over Rs 25 lakh. A case was registered against them in on the complaint of Sudhir Kumar from Haryana’s Charkhi Dadri, who was allegedly duped of Rs 5 lakh, and two others.

Explaining the modus operandi, Naik said the fraudsters approached the victims through a common friend and promised them jobs in the Territorial Army by using their “contacts”.

The aspirants were introduced to army constable Amit Kumar at the Territorial Army office premises in the Delhi Cantonment and assured them that he would manage the entire recruitment process. The physical eligibility test of the three candidates were conducted at 150 Territorial Ground in the cantonment area -- a highly secure area where their entry was facilitated by Kumar.

Police later discovered that he had mislead the army personnel deputed at the entry gate, saying the three men were job aspirants from his village, and he had brought them to the ground for practice sessions so they could qualify the physical tests.

“The candidates were made to run and participate in other physical tests, similar to the ones given in the army’s physical eligibility tests,” said an investigator who asked not to be named.

A few days later, the candidates were informed that they had qualified for the next round, and were called again to cantonment area for a written test. They were given question papers in a parking lot, and were helped with answers. “The candidates were told that it was a special arrangement they had made to help them clear the exam. The racketeers wore in uniform, the question papers looked genuine, and a stipulated time was given to write the answers — which hardly left any doubts in the minds of the candidates,” the investigator said.

In the final round, an ex-military man, Sandeep (who goes by one name), posed as an army doctor and took the candidates to Army Base hospital, where he took their blood samples. As Sandeep’s last posting before retirement was at the hospital, most staffers knew him, and he took advantage of it, police said.

The fraudsters issued fake appointment letters and asked candidates to reach Bangalore for their first posting as “trainees”. The candidates realised they were duped when nobody came to receive them at the airport and the mobile numbers of their facilitators were switched off.

HT couldn’t reach the Indian Army for a comment.

Police said gangs offering jobs in the Railways used a similar modus operandi to dupe aspirants. One of the gang that was busted this June was run by a woman, who is still absconding. She cheated 14 job seekers to the tune of over Rs 1 crore. The meetings between them and racketeers, who pretended to be senior Railway officials, was conducted at New Delhi railway station and in Northern Railways HQ.

“A written exam was conducted at these places, and the candidates were taken to the Railway hospital as well as other government hospitals for medical tests. They were later issued fake appointment letters. The candidates were given ‘job training’ at various railway stations in Delhi and UP and even paid salary of two-three months,” said Joy Tirkey, DCP (crime).

“Railways have been issuing advisory through its website and media that there is no interview in the recruitment process and entire exercise in online. We are creating awareness so that job seekers are not cheated,” said a spokesperson for railway.

First Published: Sep 20, 2018 01:05:20


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