Over a year after cyber criminals on November 4, 2018 hacked into the web portal of Maharashtra State Skill Development Society (MSSDS) and registered 10 fake training institutes within an hour, the Azad Maidan police Tuesday registered a case.
The cyber frauds claimed the institutes were located in Beed. The police said they were registered to fraudulently obtain funds disbursed by the government for students training in institutes registered with MSSDS.
After the IP addresses of the fake institutes were traced to Beed district, a campaign co-ordinator of Maharashtra Skill Develop-ment Authority was sent to inspect the institutes. After the official found them to be fake, he lodged a complaint Tuesday.
MSSDS conducts skill development schemes for the government through district skill development and entrepreneurship development centres. MSSDS and the centres in Maharashtra are linked through a portal, kaushalya.mahaswayam.gov.in. The portal is handled by a private company named Silver Touch.
At the time of registration, an institute is asked to pay an inspection fee between Rs 5,000 and Rs 15,000 online. After paying the fee, a temporary number termed CEMP number is generated for the institute. “The CEMP number is forwarded to the respective centre and the institute listed for physical inspection. An assistant director of the centre inspects the institute and submits a report on the portal or directly to MSSDS,” the complainant said.
Once an institute gets a clearance, it is given a Vocational Training Provision number after which it receives funds from the government for training and placement of students. The amount differs from Rs 5,000 to Rs 15,000 per student, depending on the training and course. “It takes more than 60 days to complete this procedure but unidentified cyber frauds managed to get the log-in details of one Taufiq Shaikh, who is an employee with MSSDS on a temporary basis and cleared these 10 institutes in one hour,” said an officer.
The crime was committed on a Sunday (November 4, 2018) as the head office of MSSDS is closed. The complainant told the police, “As CEO of the department of skills development and entrepreneurship, the ministry gave me a verbal order to carry out an inspection of the skill development training institutes in Beed district. Accordingly, me and my colleague, who is also a skill development officer, went to Beed city in Majalgaon and Parli on October 18 and 19 for inspection and learnt that the training institutes in question don’t exist.”
The complainant told The Indian Express, “It is clear the institutes were fake and the site was hacked. The listing of these institutes were done with the intention of abducting government grants on a regular basis.”