Two youths carrying fake documents of the Indian army were rounded up from a central Calcutta hotel on Sunday morning. Deputy commissioner of police (central) Zulfiquar Hasan said Kazi Kamaruddin Raju and his associate had lured around 200 youths to the hotel for an interview for jobs in the army.
“They had collected anything between Rs 5,000 and Rs 20,000, from each candidate,’’ Hasan said. Police seized the documents, along with fake rubber stamps of the army and letterheads of the commanding officer of the Calcutta region.
Investigations revealed that the cheated youths were mostly from Bankura, Purulia, Birbhum and Burdwan.
Police said Raju had advertised in the district newspapers calling for an interview in a central Calcutta hotel for jobs in the army. “The advertisement was issued in district vernacular newspapers last month. Raju and his associate had a preliminary screening session with the candidates in the same hotel a fortnight ago,’’ said a police officer investigating the case.
Once the candidates turned up in the hotel for the ‘interview’, Raju told them they would have to cough up money. “He told the job-seekers that senior army officers would have to be bribed,’’ the police officer added.
Raju told the job-seekers he was collecting the money on behalf of the officers. To lend credence to his version, he displayed the stamped documents.
“He directed the candidates to turn up with the amount in seven days’ time at the same hotel,’’ a police officer said. Many among those who had initially come for the interview backed away, as they could not afford the money. “But a handful turned up last week. They paid Raju who, in turn, promised them appointment letters within a month,’’ the policeman said.
On Sunday, Raju started collecting money from another group. “In the meantime, a few candidates who had paid him last Sunday gathered in the hotel lobby. They felt something was amiss and complained to the police,’’ Hasan said. Sources said Raju is a resident of Labhpur, in Birbhum. His associate is from Nannur, in the same district. Investigations revealed they had collected around Rs 1 lakh.
The army was guarded in its reaction. Chief of staff Lt-Gen. J.R. Mukherjee said he had directed his men to get details from the police.