Pune that still has the reputation for offering quality education may soon come to be known for its fake placement agencies as well!
These agencies take money from students on the pretext of providing suitable placement and then dupe them. Although they are supposed to get registered with the Labour Commissioners office,they seldom do so. Incidentally,even some of the registered ones run under fake names,claim activists and advocates.
It is not that there were no placement agencies earlier,but in recent years they have definitely increased. As a matter of fact,the number of fake agencies are increasing day by day, said Nilesh Bhandari,a criminal lawyer based in Pune. There are no particular jobs that are being pushed by these fake agencies. These agencies promise jobs in both government and private sectors. There are no estimates on how many placement agencies are there in the city and how many of them are fake, said Bhandari.
In one of the cases which was registered in Bund Garden police station,Mandar Abhyankar,owner of CR Bridge Placement Solutions,was booked for allegedly duping eight students on pretext of providing placements in IT firms in India. A case alleging fraud to the tune of Rs 10.52 lakh was registered.
Hassan Khan,who had registered the FIR against Abhyankar had said that last year,the latter charged the students Rs 1.31 lakh,promising them training and placements. But he did neither.
Abhyankar has appealed in court for anticipatory bail,which we will oppose. We will decide on the further course of action after the court decides on the plea on April 24, said assistant police inspector R R Bhosale.
But duping is not limited to jobs in India alone. Thirty-two students have allegedly been duped by agencies promising them jobs on ships abroad. Incidentally,many of them are yet to get their passport and other documents back,without which they will not be able to apply for jobs elsewhere.
The firm that called itself Arctic Maritime Private Limited called for applicants to enrol its directors promising them jobs within a months time. Incidentally,most students were from outside Pune,in fact,from all over the country. On enrolling,they were asked to pay Rs 1 lakh for visa and other purposes. Since none of these victims knew of the existence of the others,the incident did not come to light sooner.
According to Assistant Police Inspector S N Khot,a total of Rs 31,91,300 was swindled by the firm. We have caught one of the accused,while two others have absconded. Ujjwal Ghughe,who is the prime accused,is in Malaysia and we will write to the Central government,seeking his extradition, said API SN Khot.
Placement agencies are supposed to get themselves registered under Shops and Establishments Act,but most of them dont. It is hard to keep check on all of them. Over 4 lakh establishments are registered under this act and there is no bifurcation for various shops. So we do not know how many such agencies are there in Pune, said a top official from labour commissioner office. Its true that there is an increase in fake placement agencies,but we do not deal with checking each and every one of them to see whether they are fake or not. Only if people complain against them,do we intervene, the official added.
Should police registration be made mandatory for placement agencies?
At least some lawyers seem to think that police registration of placement agencies is necessary. One of them is Advocate Nilesh Bhandari,a criminal lawyer.
Just as cyber cafes need to be registered before being set up,placement agencies should be made to register in police stations and a thorough probe should be carried out by the departments concerned, Bhandari said. He added that currently an agency is required to get registered with the labour office. The names and addresses of these agencies should also be verified,because it turns out that many a time they are fake.