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Ex-airhostess in medical seat racket

A former airhostess and an engineering graduate were among three “kingpins” of an MBBS admission racket arrested at a Puri hotel on Tuesday.

Police said Partha Guha alias Avishek Ganguly, Sanchita Ganguly alias Sudeshna Roy and Amit Saha, all in their 20s, were arrested in the Odisha temple town by officers of Bidhannagar (East) police station.

An officer said Rs 1.05 crore and a car have been seized from the trio, who had taken money from several people by promising them MBBS seats at a private medical college in Calcutta.

He said Sanchita used to work as an airhostess while Partha had graduated from a private engineering college in Calcutta. They apparently were the kingpins of the racket. Two other accomplices, Nasim Anwar and Shakil Ahmed, were arrested in the city on July 27.

The police were on their trail following a complaint lodged with Bidhannagar (East) police station in which Murari Mohan Koley, a Tollygunge resident, had alleged that he paid Rs 20 lakh to Partha and Sanchita after they promised him admission for his daughter at the private medical college.

“They had set up an office at Salt Lake’s BL Block. They used to run a tutorial centre there and promised a lot of MBBS aspirants seats in private medical colleges in Bengal and other states,” said Kankar Prasad Barui, the deputy commissioner of police at Bidhannagar commissionerate’s detective department.

He said the gang had taken between Rs 19 lakh and 35 lakh from 20 students and their guardians, besides Barui.

“They used to accept cheques and encash them at a nationalised bank’s branch in Bihar. The money would then be transferred to an account of a fake construction firm with another nationalised bank’s branch in Patna. They would withdraw the money from the second bank,” Barui said.

The bank accounts have been frozen after the scandal was discovered.

The students had gone to the Salt Lake office last month when their names didn’t appear on the admission list of various medical colleges. The office was closed and the students and their guardians went to the police station to lodge separate complaints.

Koley was the first to lodge a complaint on July 15.

The investigators came to know that the racketeers had visited several places in north Bengal after withdrawing most of the money from the bank in Patna. They tracked down the cell phones of Nasim and Shakeel and arrested them when they returned to Calcutta.

The police said Nasim had several fake identities, while the students knew him as Avinash Verma.

“Shakeel and Nasim had confessed to the crime and given away the whereabouts of the other three,” Barui said.