The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Father conned in school entry

A south Calcutta businessman’s keenness to get his six-year-old son into a leading English-medium school was cleverly exploited by three persons — one of them an employee of La Martiniere for Boys — who nearly pulled off a Rs 3-lakh con job.

All three were arrested late on Thursday, the school employee being picked up from the staff quarters. The police clarified on Friday that the school management was in no way involved in the fraud.

Four months ago, businessman Jignesh Rathod was telling friends in an Elgin Road store about the problems he was facing in getting his son into a reputed school. The conversation was overheard by Shrikant Mishra, who offered to help Rathod for Rs 3 lakh.

Mishra knew a Class IV employee of La Martiniere, Ramratan Giri, and enlisted his help in cheating the businessman. To gain Rathod’s trust, Mishra took him twice to the school in February. The first time, he introduced Rathod to Giri, who was standing at the school gate in his uniform; then, Giri and Mishra got another accomplice, Manoj Pande, to pose as a teacher of the school Rathod wanted to get his child into. Mishra told Rathod that both Giri and the ‘teacher’ were “close friends and influential employees” of the school.

Rathod checked with the school if it did have a teacher by that name and was told it did. Only, he did not realise that the teacher was an imposter. Once the trio won Rathod’s trust, getting the money was easy. Rathod paid a lakh and was asked to wait for a few months.

Towards March-end, the three crooks produced a copy of an ‘admission list’, which had the name of Rathod’s son on it. They even gave him a fee book and an identity card. Convinced that his son had been admitted, Rathod handed over the remaining Rs 2 lakh. He then went to the designated bank and paid the school fees.

Deputy commissioner (detective department) Soumen Mitra said Giri had stolen the fee book and the identity card. However, the secretary of La Martiniere for Boys, Percy Jones, told Metro they were forged.

However, a shock was awaiting Rathod. When he checked with the admission list on the school’s notice board, he found his son’s name missing. He then asked to see the teacher he had been introduced to a few months ago, but found him to be a completely different person.

Senior school officials told him he had not even applied for admission. Rathod then lodged a complaint with the police. Jones said the school lodged a simultaneous complaint. “The school had no role in this,” Jones said. “We had lodged a complaint with the police a week ago, when we found that some outsiders had forged documents related to admission in the current session. We are happy the police took prompt action.”

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