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Mother of MP student stranded in Ukraine defrauded on pretext of return ticket

Jyotiraditya Scindia says flights will resume when Ukraine opens air space

A copy of the police complaint filed by Vaishali Wilson A copy of the police complaint filed by Vaishali Wilson

Even as families of Indian nationals, especially students, are worried stiff about their safety amidst Russian invasion on Ukraine, the mother of such a student in Vidisha of Madhya Pradesh was defrauded of Rs 42,000 on the pretext of getting a return ticket for her daughter and her friend.

City superintendent of police of Vidisha Vikash Pandey told THE WEEK that a complaint has been received and a case under Section 420 (cheating) has been registered. The officer added that a probe was on in the matter.

The CSP said Vaishali Wilson, a lab technician with the blood bank of Vidisha district hospital, lodged a complaint with the Kotwali police station saying that a man identifying himself as ‘Prince’ and claiming to be from the Prime Minister’s office (PMO) called her up on Wednesday and said that he could help in getting a return ticket for Srishti Wilson, Vaishali’s daughter, who is a fifth year student of MBBS in Ukrainian capital, Kiev.

The man convinced Vaishali to deposit Rs 42,000 in his bank account for tickets of Vaishali and one of her Indian friends stranded in Kiev. He repeatedly promised to send the ticket by Wednesday evening, then night and then by Thursday afternoon. However, the two phone numbers he was using were switched off on Thursday and the tickets were not sent.

Vaishali then got in touch with Priyank Kanungo, chairperson of the National Commission for Protection of Children’s Rights (NCPCR), who also hails from Vidisha. Kanungo enquired and found that no person in that name worked with the PMO. Later, Vaishali filed a police complaint.

Incidentally, a video of Vaishali, crying out of worry for her daughter and the adverse response from MP CM Helpline suggesting her to take up the issue of return of her daughter with Ukraine police, had gone viral over social media on Wednesday, before the fraudster struck.

When THE WEEK called up the numbers used by the alleged fraudsters, one of them (09289336757) was reported switched off, while another (07060310745) reported ‘number does not exist.

We will fly the flights again: Scindia

Meanwhile, Union civil aviation minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said in Bhopal on Thursday that more flights will be pressed into service to get Indian nationals back from Ukraine when the country opens its airspace again. Ukraine closed its air space after the Russian attack earlier on Thursday.

“Flights were flown for Ukraine earlier. Today also flights were flown to Ukraine but after 3 hours when things started escalating those flights came back. Whenever the air-space will open, we'll fly the flights again,” Scindia was reported as saying by agency ANI.

The actual number of students from Madhya Pradesh stranded in Ukraine remains unknown, but at least half a dozen cases of such students have come to the notice of the media. On Wednesday two students – one each from Indore and Bhopal, returned home from Ukraine.

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