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Mumbai: ‘Scamsters duped me of Rs 16 lakh, played with my life’

Updated on: 11 June,2024 07:03 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Apoorva Agashe |

Victim of medical admission fraud recounts nightmarish stay in Spain without proper documents

Mumbai: ‘Scamsters duped me of Rs 16 lakh, played with my life’

Uttar Pradesh resident Suyash Agarwal in Barcelona, Spain; The 21-year-old at Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi

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Mumbai: ‘Scamsters duped me of Rs 16 lakh, played with my life’

I felt terrified while staying in Spain as I was living on a single sheet of paper which stated that I had applied for the renewal of my visa. Representatives of The Internationally agency deserted me when I needed them the most,” said 21-year-old Suyash Agarwal, an undergraduate student. The youth, a resident of Uttar Pradesh, claims the agency duped him Rs 16.5 lakh after promising to facilitate his admission to a medical institution without him having to take an entrance exam.

The matter came to light when a 28-year-old doctor approached the Dongri police station to register an FIR against The Internationally for duping him of Rs 15 lakh using the same modus operandi. Following this, the Indian embassy in Spain issued an advisory. One of the accused, Vivek Kumar, had convinced Agarwal’s family that Suyash would secure a seat in a medical institution in Spain without taking entrance examinations or undergoing the proper documentation process.

According to Agarwal’s mother, Babita, the agency’s representatives were extremely professional initially but as soon as her son landed in Spain, they turned rude and did not return calls. “We paid Rs 8 lakh to the agency and another Rs 8 lakh to one Sasmita Nanda. They sent my son to Spain and did not receive calls even when his visa had expired,” she said.

Upon reaching Barcelona, Agarwal stayed in a hotel for two days following which the agency provided him accommodation. “The agency put us up in a dormitory and later we shifted to private accommodation. The agency paid the rent for seven months and then I had to bear expenses myself,” he said. The agency told Agarwal that he needed to learn Spanish to secure a seat in a medical institution, “The agency did not follow the laws of the land and just played with my life,” he said.

“After my visa expired, I contacted the agency, but they never gave me satisfactory answers. When I asked about the admission process, they said, ’Jyada mat dimag lagao, humko process pata hai. Itna hai toh khudhi karlo process’,” Agarwal said.

According to Agarwal, the renewal of the visa was rejected twice by the Spanish authorities. “This was because I had no proper documents. The authorities gave me a paper which stated that I had applied for renewal of my visa and I was living on that sheet of paper. I feared deportation.” he added. When Agarwal had inquired about the homologation of medical qualification, the agency had told him not to worry.

“For securing admission in Spain, there are certain rules. Students of Asian origin have to go through a homologation test. Seats are allotted if the criteria are met. I applied for the process in January this year. The Spanish authorities take a year to declare whether homologation meets the criteria,” he said.

At least six parents had approached the Kaushambi police station and submitted a written complaint about the agency. “We approached the police as we had been duped by the agency, luckily we did not send our children abroad. The police will register an FIR soon,” said a parent on condition of anonymity. ACP Swatantra Kumar Singh, Kaushambi police station, said, “According to a high court order, we have sent a recommendation to the special prosecutor and are in the process of registering an FIR in this matter.”

Agarwal finally returned to India on June 10. “I feel better now. There is a sense of relief. I request the Indian embassy and the police to take strict action against everyone responsible as at least 22 students are struck in Spain.” The Dongri police have arrested one accused, Archana Gautam, and are currently looking out the absconding accused, including one Vivek Shukla.

What is homologation?
The homologation of a foreign degree is the recognition in Spain of the academic validity of the foreign degree

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