Hyderabad: In a shocking but innovative instance of how miscreants could clone fingerprints to bypass biometric attendance systems, the East Zone Task Force of the City Police on Wednesday busted a gang cloning fingerprints of teaching faculty in private colleges and selling the cloned prints.
Three persons, including a vice principal and assistant professor, were arrested, while efforts are on to trace the secretary of Vivekananda Group of Institutions (VGI), who is absconding.
According to City Police Commissioner Anjani Kumar, those arrested were Bomma Ramakrishna, an assistant professor from Narsapuram in West Godavari, P. Sriram Prasad, a private employee from Krishna district, and Poreddy Sudershan Reddy, vice principal of VGI at Batasingaram, from Champapet. One suspect, Gopal Reddy, secretary of VGI, is absconding.
The gang was involved in preparation and selling cloned fingerprints of faculty members of various educational institutions and showing false online biometric attendance to JNTU officials, he said.
The police seized Rs. 3 lakh, a biometric machine, a glue gun, glue sticks, 60 cloned fingerprints of 29 faculty members of a VGI BPharm course along with 20 fingerprint impressions of faculty members of the same institution.
PhD student kingpin
Anjani Kumar said the fraud was hatched by Ramakrishna, a PhD student, who earlier worked as an Associate Professor at SCET, West Godavari before he got a job with Nova Engineering College, Batasingaram. He, along with Sriram Prasad, a BTech graduate who earlier worked as administrative officer at Nova, decided to clone fingerprints of the faculty, so that the same could be submitted to the parent university, JNTU, to overcome the issue of marking biometric attendance of faculty.
The biometric system was introduced by JNTU to ensure that every engineering college had one lecturer for every 15 students. The fraud was to help colleges that did not have adequate lecturers to meet this mandatory criterion. Prasad, the Commissioner said, would collect original fingerprint impressions using the glue gun and glue sticks and send the same to Ramakrishna in West Godavari, who in turn would prepare cloned fingerprints using ethylene vinyl acetate and other chemicals. They charged Rs.4,000 for each cloned fingerprint.
VGI’s Sudershan Reddy, along with Gopal Reddy, came to know of this and contacted Prasad for cloning fingerprints of 28 faculty members of the BPharmacy course of their college. After getting first set of 28 prints, Sudershan Reddy placed a fresh order for cloned fingerprints of five faculty members a few days ago. The three were caught when Ramakrishna was handing over the cloned fingerprints to Prasad and Sudershan Reddy.
Anjani Kumar said further investigation would be initiated and a report sent to the Registrar, JNTU, for necessary action.