Mumbai Police have booked the owner of edtech company BYJU’S on charges of criminal conspiracy for allegedly putting ‘misleading’ information in its UPSC curriculum.
The First Information Report (FIR) has been registered at the Aarey Colony police station under Indian Penal Code section 120 (B) for criminal conspiracy and section 69 (A) of the Information Technology Act.
In the FIR, the company owner Raveendran has been named. A copy of the FIR, is available with The Free Press Journal.
According to Aarey police, the FIR has been registered on the complaint of a criminology firm, Crimeophobia, which alleged that the edtech firm, in its UPSC curriculum, had stated that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is a nodal agency for the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime (UNTOC). However, as per the complainant, the CBI has stated in writing that they are not the nodal agency for UNTOC.
“I came across misquoting UNTOC (India) implementation details in May on BYJU’S UPSC curriculum, after which I approached them through an email, asking them to make necessary changes. In their reply, they sent me a letter from the Ministry of Home Affairs about CBI being the nodal agency, but it was dated 2012. Hence, I found it unsatisfactory and approached the police,” said Snehil Dhall, founder of Crimeophobia.
According to Dhall, the CBI had, in 2016, stated in writing that they were not the nodal agency for implementation of UNTOC. Following this, Dhall filed a criminal writ petition in the Supreme Court against the Union of India and 45 departments, for not implementing UNTOC in the country.
“The top agenda of India in UNSC is anti-terrorism and UNTOC is one of the core laws for cutting down terrorism, which has no takers for implementation due to which Crimeophobia had taken over the issue through SC,” added Dhall. Based on the details of UNTOC, there are three key protocols to be followed: human trafficking, arms & ammunition smuggling and money laundering.
A BYJU'S spokesperson said, “We are not in a position to comment as we are yet to receive a copy of the FIR."
However, the spokesperson futher clarified, “We received a letter from Crimeophobia, a private entity, claiming that the preparatory material published by us for the UPSC examination in relation to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime (UNTOC) is incorrect. However, contrary to the allegations, the material is factually correct and backed by an official communication issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, on April 30, 2012, a copy of which was also shared with Crimeophobia in response to the letter. All information that we utilise is derived from and verified against reliable sources,” a BYJU’S spokesperson said.