CHENNAI: A software engineer and a bar dancer, the unlikeliest partners in crime, pulled off an audacious job fraud in the city, conning at least four engineering colleges and their students into believing that they would provide them plum jobs in top tech companies.
Central crime branch (CCB) sleuths on Wednesday arrested G Sowmya, 28, a native of Noida, and S Beena, 22, from Muthialpet in Puducherry, as they were conducting fake campus interviews at Vel Tech Engineering College in Avadi — the fourth college they targeted in less than a week.
An investigating officer said Sowmya, who holds a BTech in computer science from University Visvesvaraya College of Engineering, Bangalore, and Beena, who worked as a bar dancer, posed as employees of Birlasoft during the campus placements at Vel Tech.
The cheats may well have got away with cash from students but Vel Tech placement officer J Parthasarathy, 35, grew suspicious when they insisted that each potential candidate pay 1,500 as ‘caution fee’. Parthasarathy called Birlasoft HR official Subha and asked if the company had sent officials to Vel Tech for interviews.
Subha informed Parthasarathy that the company had not assigned anyone to recruit students from Val Tech. Parthasarathy immediately took the two women to the room of the college chairman, who wanted to discuss campus recruitments.
Parthasarathy then informed the Avadi Tank Factory police, and inspector (law and order) P S Venkatesh Kumar and a team of policemen rushed to the college and arrested Sowmya and Beena.
During interrogation, Sowmya revealed that the pair had conducted fake interviews at Sathyabama Engineering College on July 10, at Meenakshi Engineering College in Kodambakkam on July 11 and at Jaya Engineering College on July 15, before convincing Val Tech officials to allow them to recruit students from the college.
Sowmya, who has a physical impairment, moved from one city hotel to another to reduce the possibility of being caught. She used high-end cars and smooth-talked her way to a red carpet welcome in all four engineering colleges, the investigating officer said.
“She promised students jobs at Birlasoft a starting salary of 3.85 lakh,” the officer said. “If students appearing for the interview did not have the money to pay the ‘caution fee’, she asked them to meet her with the cash at the next college she planned to target.”
Sowmya used a fake email ID (firstname.lastname@example.org) to pose as an official from Birlasoft while mailing several engineering institutions in the city to seek permission to recruit their students, he said.
Sowmya stayed in The Spring Hotel on Valluvar Kottam High Road, Nungambakkam, where she ingratiated herself with the manager, Subash. “Subash though Sowmya was a big shot and introduced his girlfriend Beena to her. Sowmya hired Beena as her assistant,” the officer said. She collected at least 24 lakh from students in Chennai.