Oz high commission in fake job racket row

Published: 28 November, 2011 06:37 IST | Shashank Shekhar |

Former BPO employee claims he was offered employment and citizenship by people posing as officers of the diplomatic mission on payment of Rs 2 lakh. The high commission says it's the act of outsiders.

Former BPO employee claims he was offered employment and citizenship by people posing as officers of the diplomatic mission on payment of Rs 2 lakh. The high commission says it's the act of outsiders.

A job in a high commission with perks like a house and citizenship of a foreign country is like a dream in these trying times. For Delhiite Vijay Joshi, the dream turned into a nightmare. Joshi was lured by emails and SMSes sent in the name of the Australian High Commission into quitting his call centre job. The saving grace was that before he could pay the Rs 2 lakh demanded from him by his 'prospective employers', he realised that he was a step away from falling prey to a fake job racket. Having lost his employment, Joshi has sent a complaint to the high commission and Delhi police commissioner BK Gupta.

No vacancy! Delhi police  personnel stand guard outside the Australian
High Commission building on Shantipath in south Delhi's Chanakyapuri.
PIC/Imtiyaz Khan

In his complaint, Joshi has alleged that Australian High Commission officers are behind the fraud. The high commission, however, has initiated an inquiry and has denied the involvement of its representatives in the case.

'High' drama: The Australian High Commission building in the Capital.
File pic 

Something fishy
"There is an organised racket operating hand-in-glove with some officials of the high commission. I met a man on a company training course who told me some jobs were coming up at the Australian High Commission. I applied to become a senior visa officer on August 24. But somehow fraudsters got my phone number and email address and started contacting me, pretending to be officials from the Australian High Commission. They sent a text message claiming they had fixed the selection process so I would get the job. The interview was supposed to be just a formality," Vijay Joshi said in his complaint.

Joshi quit his BPO job as he sure of getting the more lucrative opportunity. "They asked for Rs 2 lakh from me as bribe. I was promised the job, a car, a luxury house and even Australian citizenship on taking up the position. Members of the syndicate used fake names like Lachlen Cotton and Nuvan Djikovic and claimed to be senior officials from the Australian High Commission's visa office. They even sent a phoney air ticket saying I would be flown to Mumbai for training," Joshi explained.

Cutting losses
Fortunately Vijay didn't pay the money as he smelt some foul play. "I became suspicious about the job so I contacted compliance officers from the department of immigration. They told me it was a scam and not to pay any money. The compliance team confirmed there were no staff members by the name of Nuvan Djikovic and Lachlen Cotton," he said.

Joshi was devastated by the revelations. "I left my previous job and left my promotion, only for this opportunity. I could have been saved from falling victim to this scam if the Australian High Commission had informed me that my job application had been rejected. Then I would have easily spotted these fake mails and SMSes. The cheaters not only pretended to be Australian visa officials, they sent letters and emails by forging the high commission logo," Vijay said.

Phoney connection
"The Australian High Commission is aware of these allegations. A thorough internal investigation found there was no substance to the allegation that an employment scam was being run from within the Australian High Commission. The investigation found that a person unknown to the Australian High Commission had been using the name of the High Commission to scam unsuccessful applicants in recruitment exercises for positions with the visa office at the Australian High Commission." - Statement from Australian high commission.

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