What is the EWS admissions racket?
Some 10 modules of the accused were active in prominent Delhi schools, in alleged connivance with school and SDM office authorities. Fake proofs of residence and certificates of income, forged voter IDs and other documents were submitted to claim seats reserved for students from the economically weaker sections (EWS). The parents of all the candidates were, however, prosperous businessman, some with their own factories in the NCR. The alleged racketeers had manipulated the lottery system through forged residence certificates, and sometimes used the same details on multiple income certificates, only changing the name of the student.
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What is the EWS quota?
Private schools are required to reserve 25 per cent of seats for EWS students in all fresh admissions entry level upwards. They are also required to provide free books, uniforms and writing material to all EWS students. Schools have gone to court, where the matter is pending.
How did the alleged racket work?
According to investigators, the alleged kingpin and his touts hung out near leading private schools in the admissions season, targeting parents who appeared to be disappointed at their child not getting admission. They allegedly struck deals for between Rs 3 lakh and Rs 5 lakh, but never told any parent how they had managed to get their child in. Sometimes particulars, including names, were changed, and parents were advised to submit affidavits making “corrections” later.
How widespread was the admissions racket?
Investigations so far have suggested that the gang operated with the connivance of school administrations, including principals of some leading schools, and lower-level staff of SDM offices. As of now, the police have identified around 250 fake EWS admissions. More revelations and arrests appear likely.
How did the racket come to light?
In August 2014, the Delhi Police’s Crime Branch was tipped off about an organised EWS admissions racket in the city. Investigators asked all private schools for data and documents of nursery admissions for two years, and found admissions had been obtained on the basis of income certificates issued by SDM offices at Alipur, Saraswati Vihar and Rohini in north west Delhi. Apparently, some certificates were forged.
How did the police crack the case?
Once they had registered a case, investigators watched the activities of the suspects, including scanning their call detail records. Evidence emerged of the possible involvement of teachers and principals. After almost 10 months, the police had enough to move.
What can be done to prevent a repeat?
The Directorate of Education issued a circular this May asking all schools to verify application numbers of documents such as income certificates with the Delhi government’s Revenue Department. Details are available online.