Four notorious people, including a woman, have been arrested in India's capital city for duping over 4,200 people in order to get jobs, for which they allegedly created a fake government website under the name of the central government's health programme, Ayushman Bharat.
According to the police, the four fraudsters have been identified as Umesh, Rajat, Gaurav, and Seema Rani - who duped more than 4,200 people under the Indian government's Ayushman Bharat – Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana's name and made over INR 1 million ($13,200).
“In the complaint, the authorities alleged that a fake website is containing a job posting for Ayush Mitra, a part of government’s Ayushman Bharat Scheme in which the government will provide job opportunities for candidates in government and private hospitals. This essentially is creating confusion among the beneficiaries of the scheme and other citizens of India”, said a Delhi Police officer.
He further said this confusion can be misused as a tool by unscrupulous elements for cheating and duping innocent citizens in the name of the government’s scheme. Accordingly, a case was registered and an investigation was launched.
During the investigation, a technical examination was taken up and details of the website were obtained. The payment gateway and the bank account linked to it were analysed.
“Connected mobile numbers and IP addresses were obtained and analysed to identify the accused persons. On the basis of detailed technical analysis, the four accused were arrested. One laptop, four mobile phones and ATM cards have been recovered from the possession of the accused persons”, the officer said.
Police said that during the interrogation the accused persons revealed that they had hatched the conspiracy to dupe people in the name of Ayushman Scheme of the government of India.
“In this regard, they first formed a Trust in the name of Ayushman Yojana Trust and accused Rajat, a web designer, designed a website impersonating as genuine government website. The website was used to advertise thousands of jobs through recruitment notices”, the officer said.
It also received payments from innocent people as registration charges for over 5,000 jobs, such as for the position of ward boy, nurse, lab assistant, pharmacist, and Ayush Mitra under the Ayushman Health scheme.
“The accused Gaurav, earlier associated with a Multi-Level Marketing scheme, started conducting public meetings in villages of western Uttar Pradesh to lure people into the fraud scheme and to induce them to register for the job offers by paying an initial amount $4 to $6.5 (Approx. INR 300 to 500 each). In this way, the accused persons have cheated more than 4,200 persons”, the official said.
Police said the accused had advertised for 5,116 vacancies across six states – Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana, Delhi, and Bihar and to feed the online scam, the fraudsters organised camps in semi-urban and rural areas.
Currently, the accused are under police remand while efforts are being made to arrest the others related to them.
It may be noted that Ayushman Bharat - the largest healthcare scheme of India - is said to have benefitted about 20 million people in less than two years. Women and those staying in villages are among the major beneficiaries of this scheme.