Three men, suspected of being involved in a racket in offering railway jobs that did not exist, were picked up from the Tollygunge and Jadavpur areas on Thursday. Deputy superintendent of police, Subhankar Chatterjee, said Musa, Arif, Somnath Sarkar and Prasad Das had opened a “railways’’ office on Deshapran Sashmal Road.
The jobs on offer were mostly in the central and northern railways division in Madhya Pradesh, UP and Chhattisgarh.
According to initial investigations by detectives and Jadavpur police, 48 youths in the city and its southern suburbs were cheated in the past six months. Ten youths from the Chitpur and Shyampukur areas were among them.
“We have evidence to suggest that the racketeers had collected over Rs 20 lakh from youths with promises of jobs that never materialised,’’ Chatterjee said.
Detectives said the racketeers introduced themselves as senior officers of the Eastern and South Eastern Railways to prospective job-seekers. “They were extremely cordial and interacted easily with people’’, officer-in-charge of Jadavpur police station Salil Bhattacharya said.
Detectives said Das and Sarkar are close to some senior railway officers. Elaborating on their modus operandi, Bhattacharya said Arif and Musa would recruit agents in the Barasat, Madhyamgram, Thakurpukur and Pailan areas. Arif is Musa’s son-in-law. They would look around for reasonably well-to-do but gullible youths, desperately seeking jobs in a Central government department.
“The racketeers offered railway jobs because they figured out that it would be impossible for the youths to cross-check with the headquarters,’’ Bhattacharya said. The agents brought the youths to the office, and introduced Musa and Arif as two men close to senior railway officers who would help them make an application and ensure that they landed a job. Musa and Arif did the “initial screening’’ of the applicants.
That hurdle over, Arif would ask the job-seekers for a “fee’’ for greasing palms. Then, Arif introduced Das and Sarkar as “senior” railway officers. “Musa and Arif would even allow candidates to pay the amount in instalments,’’ Bhattacharya said.
“The applicants realised they were gulled only after they paid up and there was no sign of any job. They told the applicants to wait, as the Central government had frozen all jobs,’’ Bhattacharya added.