Earlier this week, the Delhi Police unearthed an admission racket in which income certificates were forged to help ineligible students get into schools in the Capital under the quota reserved for economically weaker sections (EWS). If one such ‘EWS student’ commutes to school in a Jaguar, others are children of thriving businessmen, international traders and factory owners.
Bal Bharati Public School in Pitampura accounts for 60 of the 250 such students, the largest in a single school that investigations have revealed so far.
Families with annual income less than Rs 1 lakh qualify under EWS. Details of parents of some of the ‘EWS’ students who got into the Bal Bharati School:
* Owners of an iron factory, and a high-end car. The family lives in a four-room house on the second floor of a three-storey house in Rajdhani Enclave in Pitampura.
* The father runs a trading company and owns a mid-level sedan. The joint family, including grandparents, stays on the ground floor of a three-storey building. While the child and his parents are currently abroad on vacation, the grandfather admitted his grandson was admitted through EWS quota around two years ago, but says the broker who fixed the admission kept them in the dark about this.
* Owners of a shoe factory, and a mid-level sedan. A neighbour said the family, which lives on the second floor of a three-storey building, was currently out of town on a vacation.
* The father is a salaried professional, and the family lives in a two-storey building in Rohini Sector 11. The mother admitted her husband paid money to touts for their child’s admission. Of the two cars parked outside their home, one is a mid-level sedan.
* The father is a businessman, and the family stays in a three-storey house in Deepali Enclave. Admitting that he had paid a lot of money to touts, he said, “I have given all the details to the Delhi Crime Branch. I can’t divulge any more.”
* The father is a businessman. The family, that owns at least one SUV, lives in a three-storey building in Saraswati Vihar. The grandfather said that after trying in eight schools they had no option but to approach touts for their child’s admission. “We did not even know the word EWS before the interrogation,” he adds. “The touts promised us a seat in general category.”
* The family lives in a three-storey house in Rajdhani Enclave. The father is a businessman.
The principal of Bal Bharati Public School, Meenu Goswami, has been questioned by the Delhi Police. Sources in the police believe Goswami, along with prime suspect Mukesh Sharma, even rigged the lottery system to help non-eligible students secure admission under the EWS quota.
Speaking to The Indian Express, S K Bhattacharya, secretary, Bal Bharati School, said: “The entire admission process is transparent and done in the presence of government observers. As far as the authencity of certificates is concerned, the department appraised schools of a mechanism to check fake certificates only last month. No such provisions were present earlier, and schools took the authenticity of documents at face value.”
Asked why more than 50 cases had come to light from the school alone, he said, “I cannot say anything at this stage as the matter is under investigation.”
The Delhi Department of Education says it can do little to check fake certificates as the responsibility of issuing them is of the Revenue Department while schools have to confirm their authenticity.
“The department issued a circular last month telling schools to check authenticity of certificates online… If parents are submitting fake documents, it is an issue between schools and parents. I don’t know what else the government can do about it,” said Padmni Singla, Director, DoE.
Singla added that with schools now able to verify documents online, such cases will fall in number.