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Indian-Origin Trio arrested for allegedly selling seats to Indian Students to Health Science Courses at University in South Africa

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Image used for representational Purpose. Pixabay

Johannesburg, May 16, 2017: Three Indian-origin persons were arrested here by police for allegedly selling seats to Indian students to study medicine and other health science courses at a university in South Africa.

Accused Varsha (44) and Hiteshkumar Bhatt (46) are the owners of Durban’s “Little Gujarat” restaurant while Preshni Hiramun (55) is a former school teacher.

The trio is accused of working as agents in conspiring together with a syndicate at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) in South Africa to illegally enrol students in the health science faculty and school of medicine, news portal Independent online reported on Monday.

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The accused chatted to interested parents, negotiated bribes and liaised with university staff who helped get the parents’ children enrolled, according to the report.

This was done even though the students involved did not meet the minimum requirements for the courses. The three suspects allegedly charged R250,000 ($19,000) for admission to the health sciences faculty.

They charged R500,000 ($38,000) for a place in medicine. The reports also said that the trio was involved in the sale of examination question and answer papers for an additional R30,000 ($2,278).

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The trio were charged with fraud and contravention of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act and were later granted R40,000 ($3,000) bail each in the Pinetown Magistrate’s Court on Monday.

Their arrest came after a sting operation was conducted by a weekly newspaper on Sunday.

The elite Hawks Organised Crime Unit raided the homes and businesses of the three accused and arrested them last week. Their passports were confiscated and they have been asked to report to the Durban North Police station once a week.

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Police seized two Mercedes-Benz cars, laptops, hard-drives and flash drives from the Bhatts. At Hiramun’s home in Somerset Park, laptops were found hidden in a washing machine, the report said.

Documents pertaining to the syndicate were also seized, according to the report. The trio was also asked to refrain from contacting any witnesses or staff at UKZN.

Hawks investigator Mandla Mkhwanazi said more arrests were on the cards and that the investigation was at a sensitive stage hence too much information could not be divulged.

The accused will appear in court again in August for the state to prepare its investigation. (IANS)

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JY Pillay: Indian Origin Civil Servant Appointed as the Acting President of Singapore

As CPA Chairman since 2005, Pillay has been acting President each time the President goes on an overseas trip

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Acting President of Singapore
JY Pillay. Youtube
  • JY Pillay has been appointed as the acting President of Singapore
  • Pillay, also the Chairman of the Council of Presidential Advisers, is a veteran civil servant of Indian Origin
  • The Singapore polls take place on 23rd September

September 2, 2017: Indian-origin veteran civil servant JY Pillay on Friday took over as Singapore’s acting President until a new head of the state is elected later this month.

The temporary appointment of Pillay, Chairman of the Council of Presidential Advisers (CPA), follows the completion of President Tony Tan Keng Yam’s six-year term on Thursday, the Strait Times reported.

The nomination day for the Presidential election is September 13, followed by polling day on September 23.

According to the report, when the office of President is vacant, the first in line to exercise its powers is the CPA Chairman, followed by the Speaker of Parliament. This is the first time the office has fallen vacant since the elected presidency was introduced in 1991.

Pillay is no stranger to exercising the powers of the President. As CPA Chairman since 2005, he has been acting President each time the President goes on an overseas trip. He acted as President in May, when Tan made state visits to Europe.

He has served more than 60 such “stints”– the longest of which was 16 days in April and May of 2007 when then President SR Nathan visited Africa. (IANS)


NewsGram is a Chicago-based non-profit media organization. We depend upon support from our readers to maintain our objective reporting. Show your support by Donating to NewsGram. Donations to NewsGram are tax-exempt. 

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Indian Mission in Houston Shares Helpline Numbers for Texas Floods

On Monday, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj tweeted that the 200 Indian students were "surrounded by neck-deep water".

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Helpline numbers
Flooding in Texas. Wikimedia

Houston, August 30, 2017: With some 200 Indian students of the University of Houston affected by floods in the wake of tropical storm Harvey, the Indian mission in the Texas city on Tuesday shared helpline numbers for worried families and relatives back in India.

“We are getting understandably a number of communications from worried friends and relatives in India seeking details about family and friends in distress in Houston due to flooding or informing us about whereabouts of friends/family who might require rescue,” Indian Consul General in Houston Anupam Ray said in a statement.

“We will do our best to help in every such case,” he said.

Ray said that for specific queries about specific individuals, Consul Ravindra Joshi can be contacted at +18322311988, adding that the normal emergency line, +17136262149, was functioning.

“In case the lines are overwhelmed please leave a voice mail and we will return the call,” he added.

As one of the most destructive storms in the US history lashed southeast Texas, forecasts have warned of still more rain, making clear that massive flooding that had turned neighbourhoods into lakes was just the start of a disaster that would take years to overcome, The New York Times reported.

So far, 10 deaths were reported with six of them in Harris county which includes Houston, the country’s fourth largest city, the report said.

On Monday, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj tweeted that the 200 Indian students were “surrounded by neck-deep water”.

“We made efforts for delivery of food but US Coast Guard did not allow as boats were required for rescue operations,” she said.

However, later in the evening, Consul General Ray said that the Indian students were safe and have been provided with food. (IANS)

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Hurricane Harvey Leaves 200 Indian Students Stranded, 2 Admitted to ICU, Says Sushma Swaraj

Continuous rainfall threatens to aggravate an already-dangerous situation as water logging has brought the entire city to a stand-still.

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Tropical storm Harvey
Sushma Swaraj, External affairs minister of India. Wikimedia
  • Flooding from tropical storm Harvey is increasingly overburdening resources and threatening life in Texas
  • Two hundred Indian students have been stranded at University of Houston 
  • External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj is currently makings efforts to help the stranded students

New Delhi, August 28, 2017 : Two hundred Indian students of the University of Houston have been marooned in floods in the wake of tropical storm Harvey causing heavy rains and flooding in America’s fourth largest city. Two Indian students are in the intensive care unit (ICU) of a hospital, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj said on Monday.

“@CGHoust has informed me that 200 Indian students at University of Houston are marooned. They are surrounded by neck deep water,” Sushma Swaraj tweeted.

“We made efforts for delivery of food but US Coast Guard did not allow as boats were required for rescue operations,” she said.

Stating that Indian Consul General in Houston Anupam Ray was organising the rescue operations, Sushma Swaraj said in a separate tweet: “Indian students Shalini and Nikhil Bhatia are in ICU. We are ensuring that their relatives reach there at the earliest.”

According to a media report, at least two people have been killed as the Houston area continues to be inundated by torrential rain and catastrophic flooding from Harvey, which officials called an “unprecedented” weather event that has left thousands of homes flooded, stranding people and overwhelming rescue workers. (IANS)