A court here has refused to quash proceedings against trustees of Rai Foundation for allegedly cheating nearly 50 students of Rs 3.22 lakh for admission in its law college which was neither affiliated to any university nor had the necessary approval of Bar Council of India.
Additional Sessions Judge Raj Kumar Tripathi upheld the order of a magisterial court putting on trial and summoning as accused the trustees of the foundation - Varun Rai, Vinay Rai, Amit Rai, Suresh Sachdev and Usha Agarwala- for criminally conspiring against students and cheating them in 2002.
The court said the foundation published advertisements for admission in newspapers in which it did not disclose whether its college was authorised to do so or not.
"Admittedly, on the date when Rai Foundation published advertisements in newspapers for admission in law course in its College of Law and Public Policy, it was not authorised to take admissions. The college was neither affiliated to any university nor was granted approval to run the college by Bar Council of India.
"Students took admission in the college on the basis of advertisement... Had they been aware about the college having no authority to take admission, they would have neither applied nor deposited the fees," it said.
The court also noted that during investigation, it was found that the University Grants Commission (UGC) as well as as BCI confirmed that the college was neither affiliated to any university nor had prior approval of the apex law body.
The reply by Secretary, BCI shows neither advertisement can be issued by a law college nor admission for law courses can be started before approval by BCI, it said.
The contention of the accused that the money had been returned to the students, did not go well with the court, which said it was "of no consequence".
"The subsequent conduct of the college in returning the fees to students is of no consequence. The offence of cheating was complete at the moment when the students, after reading the advertisement published in the newspapers, applied in the law college and deposited the fees," the court said.
The counsel for the accused trustees had submitted that no misrepresentation was made by the college to the students as they were informed well in advance about the status of the affiliation with the Bar Council.
He had further argued that there is no advertisement on record which shows that the college had invited registration by saying it was a recognised institution with the BCI.
An FIR under sections 420 (cheating) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC was lodged against the accused in 2002 on a written complaint filed by the then Secretary of Bar Council of Delhi.
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