Indian police have arrested two men for allegedly duping dozens of applicants seeking jobs with Indian Railways out of thousands of rupees.
The suspects are accused of falsely offering jobs to 28 people who were tricked into counting trains for weeks.
Police began investigating the scam last November.
The victims paid between 200,000 rupees ($2,400; £2,000) and 2.4m rupees each to secure jobs as ticket examiners, traffic assistants or clerks.
Indian Railways is one of the world’s largest employers. Scams for government jobs are often reported in India, where millions of young people are desperate for stable, secure employment.
The two men arrested, Sivaraman V and Vikas Rana, are accused of being part of a gang that allegedly asked the victims, who are from southern Tamil Nadu state, to stand at different platforms of the main railway station in India’s capital Delhi for eight hours every day for about a month.
Police said that Rana, who is from Delhi, used to work at the National Museum of Natural History but left his job in March last year. Sivaraman V lives in Tamil Nadu, the Times of India newspaper reported.
The accused allegedly asked the victims to count the trains that passed through the station every day, the Press Trust of India (PTI) news agency reported.
One of the victims had told the Indian Express newspaper that he was looking for opportunities to support his family after the Covid-19 pandemic.
Police were alerted to the scam by Subbuswamy, a former army official who said that he unknowingly put the victims in touch with the accused.
He told PTI that he had been helping the young men from his hometown in Tamil Nadu’s Virudhunagar district find jobs “without any monetary interest” for himself.
He said he met a person called Sivaraman who claimed to have connections with lawmakers and ministers and offered to find government jobs for the unemployed men.
The accused then put Subbuswamy and the victims in touch with another man, who even took the candidates for fake medical examinations. The man later stopped answering phone calls from them.
Some of the victims said they borrowed money to pay the scammers.
The accused are in police custody and have made no statement since their arrest.