Police to approach embassies to trace 18 foreign students who paid bribe

To track down the 18 untraceable foreign students of the University of Pune (UoP) who allegedly paid bribes to get their marks increased, the police will soon approach the embassies concerned and request extradition of these students if they have fled India.

Police suspect that 21 students from different colleges affiliated to UoP allegedly applied for re-evaluation of the papers, in which they had failed, to get their marks increased in lieu of "exorbitant" amounts of money. Of the 21, the police have already arrested two Oman nationals Alamri Hamid (22) and Obed Ahmed Rehman (29), and one Mohsin Mehboob Shaikh (19), a resident of Mangalwar Peth here. Seven university officials allegedly involved in fraudulently increasing the marks have been arrested too.

According to the police, the investigators have been on the lookout for the remaining 18 students but have failed to locate them as their local addresses available with the UoP administration are incorrect or they have vacated the premises.

Sensing trouble, police sources said, the foreign students might have fled to their respective countries.

Senior Inspector Ajay Kadam of Chatushrungi police station told Newsline: "All 18 untraceable students are foreigners and belong to middle-eastern countries. Quite a few of them are Omani nationals. We are now finding out the countries the remaining students belong to. As soon as that is done, we will get in touch with the Special Branch, which will then approach the embassies concerned. If India has extradition treaties with these countries, we will try to get the custody of these students."

A majority of students enrolled with different departments of UoP or affiliated colleges stay outside the university campus. Though the university has an International Students Hostel on its campus, it can only accommodate 180 students. The rest have to arrange for private accommodation. According to UoP officials, most of the students who succeed in securing a seat in the hostel are those who get admission through the International Students' Centre of the university. The university doesn't have any mechanism to monitor students staying outside the campus.

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