Mumbai: Over 7400 parents across Mumbai and from several parts of the state have been duped to the tune of ₹ 1.93 crore in the name of their children's education. The owner of Pride Education Group through its agents promised 7495 parents of poor students that their firm will bare their children's education expenses and lured them into trap.
Parents from Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Solapur, Ahmednagar, Pune, Ratnagiri and Surat fell pray to the scheme, said police.
According to the Pydhonie police which recently registered an offence against its owner Kaaid Johar who is at large, said that the fraud was going on since late 2019. The accused through its network of agents lured the parents into trap by promising to bare their education expense from standard 1 to 10 and duped them by charging them registration fees and monthly maintenance charges.
While registration, the parents have been charged anywhere between ₹1,400 to ₹5000 in the name of registration charges and they have been asked to pay ₹100 to ₹500 as monthly maintenance charges and in return the firm will bare their fees. Initially, parents and schools have been given post dated cheques for assurance.
For initial few months the payments were regular but later parents stopped receiving cheques and the school started complaining that the cheques have been bounced due to insufficient funds. Around 4000 cheques have reportedly bounced. After complaints started rising the firmed closed its office in South Mumbai and since then its owner Johar is at large, said a police officer.
The complaint in the case Ameen Shaikh, 39, stated in his statement to the police that, "Johar had claimed that their firms receive donations from Education Minstry, central government which they used for education of poor students and pay their fees".
The agents which joined the firm have been asured Rs 7000 salary if they brought 30 students monthly otherwise ₹100 commission on every student. During one of firms' meeting, the agents have lured to send them for Umrah in Saudi Arabia and family holiday trip in Dubai if they brought 400 students in three months.
However, in early 2021, the firm stopped issuing cheques, claiming central government had stopped their payments and several registrations of parents have been cancelled for non-payment of monthly charges. By April 2021, they closed their office as well.
We have registered an offence under the IPC sections for criminal breach of trust (406) and cheating (420) along with relevant sections of Maharashtra Protection of Interest of Depositors (in Financial Establishments) Act.
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