Barely a week before being arrested, agent in sting video seen demanding Rs 9 lakh from ‘recruit’ who’ll pose as child of deceased BMC employee; Crime Branch nabs two BMC staffers and their agents following mid-day exposé
It was nearly a month ago that a massive recruitment scam at the BMC came to light, with hundreds of people posing as the children of dead civic employees to score a job as a sweeper (Class IV post).
A grab from the video. Despite being under the scanner of cops, 32-year-old Kunal Jogadia was moving around freely offering jobs for money
Shockingly, even as the Crime Branch was investigating the case, the culprits brazenly continued the fraud, never expecting to get caught. Little did they know that very soon, they would get caught — first on camera, then by the police.
Social activists from the Consumer Social Work Sanstha, Ashok Maskar, Shivprasad Tiwari and Hirabhai Sosa visited the mid-day office yesterday to discuss their efforts to expose the job scam at the BMC. Pic/Atul Kamble
The past week has seen two major breakthroughs in the case; not only did the Crime Branch arrest four people allegedly involved in the scam, but social activists from the Consumer Social Work Sanstha also conducted a sting operation that proved that the conmen were still continuing the scam.
An officer from Crime Branch Unit 3 said, “The accused revealed that they have been committing the crime since five years and never feared that they would be caught. They said they would demand money from clients in the range of Rs 5-10 lakh for a job.”
In the sting operation, a decoy client approached one Kunal Jogadia (32), an agent who made deals with job applicants and arranged for their bogus documentation. The client met Jogadia near Mahalaxmi Racecourse to strike a deal for a job at the BMC, capturing the conversation on a hidden camera.
In the clip, Jogadia tells the client he can guarantee a sweeper’s job if he is paid Rs 8.5 to 9 lakh. Even more shocking is his suggestion that once the client gets the job, he can simply pay his supervisor Rs 4,500 each month so that he doesn’t even have to turn up for work. mid-day has access to the sting operation video and has culled a few excerpts (see ‘Striking a deal’).
Jogadia told the fake client that he could not offer a job in the D-ward due to some issues, no doubt referring to the police probe going on there. He also warned the applicant not to tell anybody about the deal, as he feared being exposed by a police informer.
His fears came true, as on Tuesday night, just a week after the sting operation, he was arrested along with three others — another agent, Sunny Vinod Vinjuda (31) and two BMC employees, clerk Dilip Choukekar (47) and peon Anil Kanji Baliya (27).
“Chaukekar and Baliya would get the information about vacant posts that nobody had applied for and they would keep those files aside. The files would then be handed over to the agents and depending on the name of the ex-employee, the identity of the recruits would be changed. The agents would give them around Rs 2 lakh for each file,” said a Crime Branch officer.
Striking a deal
Client: Please give me a job in BMC D-ward.
Jogadia: I can give you a job in other wards but not in Nana Tank (D-ward). There is some issue there (referring to the investigation), but I will surely give you a job in the place of staffers who have died.
Client: How strong are the chances?
Jogadia: Many people are already working there and taking salaries and you are asking me about the chances?
Client: If you get me a job, I will get five to six more aspirants for you.
Jogadia: I have recruited many people from my area; after getting them a job, their family members have also approached me for a job.
Client: I had tried for a job in the railways as a TC but was cheated.
Jogadia: I don’t know about railways, but I have been recruiting people for a while and can give a guarantee.
Client: I fall under SC caste.
Jogadia: Your caste doesn’t matter in a sweeper’s job.
Client: Will I get a promotion later?
Jogadia: After I get you a job there and you start getting your salary, I don’t know you and you don’t know me.
Client: Is it permanent? Later there should be no problem for me.
Jogadia: The job is permanent. You will get a salary slip too. I usually do not trust people from outside but still I am trusting you.
Client: My name is Mahendra Rajboj. Under whose name will I get the job?
Jogadia: You will be recruited under your name, you just have to give me your original documents and we shall make your file.
Client: How much money will I have to pay?
Jogadia: You have to pay R8.5 to 9 lakh. But what is your budget? Do not tell me R5 lakh — you won’t get a job for such a small amount.
Client: How much time will it take?
Jogadia: It should take around 8 to 9 months, but I will try to do it in 5 months.
Client: I am a Std XII pass. Is it necessary for me to work in the sweeper class?
Jogadia: If we show Std X as your qualification, you will get a good salary. Start as a sweeper and then you can keep giving exams and get promotions. If you don’t want to go to work, you can pay R4,500 to your supervisor and he will mark you present for the whole month. This is happening illegally, so don’t tell anyone in the BMC office that you got a job through me. If anyone happens to be a police informer then everyone will be arrested and taken to jail.
Client: I won’t even tell my family about this. How do I pay you?
Jogadia: First you decide whether you really want the job, then we will sit and decide about the payment.
mid-day had reported the job scam in a front-page story (‘Scam sweeps through BMC’, November 7), after the Crime Branch had lodged an FIR in the matter.
The people paid hefty sums — in the range of Rs 5-10 lakh — to the racketeers who would forge documents to present these job applicants as the children of dead BMC employees, enabling them to land a job at the corporation under compassionate grounds.
The scam was exposed by Shivprasad Tiwari, the co-founder of Consumer Social Work Sanstha, the same NGO that conducted the sting operation.
Rs 25k to Rs 30k
Sweeper’s monthly salary
Rs 5 Lakh to Rs 9 Lakh
Pay supervisor; he marks you present for the whole month