Police in the Indian capital, Delhi, are investigating a complaint of job fraud involving 28 men who were tricked into counting trains at a station for days.
The men thought they were training for a job with the Indian Railways.
A former army official reported the scam to the police and said he had introduced the men to the alleged scammers without knowing their intentions.
Local media reported that the victims had paid between 200,000 rupees ($2,400) and 2.4 million rupees each to get the job.
The Delhi Police’s Economic Crimes Division launched an investigation into the alleged scam in November, but news of the scam was only made public last week.
The men, from the southern state of Tamil Nadu, were asked to stand at various platforms at Delhi’s main railway station for eight hours every day for about a month. According to the Press Trust of India news agency, they counted the number of trains that were passing through the station each day.
The men were promised that they would be employed as ticket inspectors, traffic assistants or clerks for the railway company, one of India’s largest employers.
One of the victims told The Indian Express that he was looking for a job and livelihood to support his family after the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We went to Delhi for training – all we had to do was count the trains. We were suspicious of this method of training, but the accused was a dear friend of our neighbour. I feel ashamed now.”
The former army officer, who filed the complaint with the police, told the Press Trust of India news agency that he was helping the youths, who came from his hometown in Tamil Nadu’s Virudhunagar district, to find jobs “without any financial benefit” for himself.
He added that he met a person named Sivaraman, who claimed to have links with officials, MPs and ministers, and offered to help these unemployed youths find government jobs.
The fraudster then introduced the army officer and the other victims to another man, who took them for fake medical exams. The man later stopped answering their phone calls.
Some of the victims said they had borrowed money to pay the scammers.
Government job scams are often reported in India, as millions of young people are in dire need of a permanent and secure job opportunity.
In March 2021, police in the southern city of Hyderabad said they had arrested two men who were believed to have deceived about 100 people who thought they were employed by the railway company.
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