Tuesday 19 November, 2019

International hunt for Indian CEO in university fraud ends in Barbados

Students in Barbados at the Washington University of Barbados saw the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of their university carted off campus in the custody on members of the Royal Barbados Police Force.

Acting Public Relations Officer for the Police, Sargeant Michael Blackman confirmed to the media that "a Venkata Rao Gopi, an Indian national, CEO of  Washington University of Barbados located at Casa Grande Hotel in Oldbury Road, Rock Hall, St. Philip, is currently in custody of Police at the Criminal Investigation Department assisting in investigations."

According to a report on Friday, October 4, 2018, in the Guyana Guardian stated that students in India were expected to travel to Guyana to study at an offshore university there when they blew the whistle on the university recruiters.

The article stated:

"Thinking that they were being genuinely prep for travel to Guyana to pursue a medical degree with an offshore university, more than 200 young people in India are now counting their losses, and at least four of them have committed suicide, after realizing that they were actually defrauded of their money and their dreams by a bogus student recruiter and his wife.

"The nightmarish experience for the students actually began more than three weeks ago, after a multitude of issues began to surface regarding the credibility of at least two of the offshore medical universities that they were enrolled into; – a factor that forced them to demand a refund from the university agents in India.

"Many of the students had argued that at least the Guyana based offshore university did not have the international accreditation status that it has claimed, and that its degrees were not accepted in the United States and Canada.

"The affected prospective students who had formed a network to exchange information among each other, had made a decision to get the police in India involved after their demand for a refund was not being adhered to. But they were too late.

"This is because before the police could have made an early morning raid at the Karnataka, Tamil Nadu offices of the husband and wife team that was working as agents for the Guyana-based offshore University, they had long fled the country.

"An international hunt is now on to locate Mr Gopi Venkata Rao and his wife Nikhila Rao, both of whom were identified as owners of the student recruitment establishment."

This news comes almost a week after a raid was conducted in India for Venkata Rao and his accomplices. According to the Deccan Herald, an English daily newspaper published from the Indian state of Karnataka by The Printers Private Limited:

"The police on Friday [September 28, 2018] raided an educational firm that duped 200 students in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, promising medical admission in foreign universities...

"The owners, identified as Gopi Venkata Rao and his wife Nikhila, managed to escape. The police arrested six staff members of the firm — Shaistha Suman (25) from Bapuji Nagar; Dilip (28) and his father Edukondalu (51) from Kurnool in Andhra Pradesh; Ayesha Banu (25) from Mysuru Road; and Ranganayakalu (30) and Ishaq Basha (30), both from Suddaguntepalya. They were booked for cheating and forgery. The police said the accused started the consultancy firm under the banner of American Service Centre in 2011 that has its branches in Chennai, Hyderabad, Tirupati and Coimbatore."

Barbadian police have not stated his charges, nor have they shared if his wife is in custody as well.

 

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