A fraud is being played out in the name of the government of India, with jobs being offered by "Rashtriya Vigyan Kendra" that only has a presence in cyberspace.
Aspirants have been told to send Rs 200 as application fee for 190 jobs advertised in local newspapers in Uttar Pradesh and neighbouring Uttarakhand.
Application forms are also available on the website.
And, it is working. On an average, 250 drafts are being sent a day to the Lucknow address given in the advertisement.
"...the post office has been flooded with drafts, nearly 200300 per day. The advertisements appeared in a local newspaper, Uttarakhand Rozgar Darshan, from December 2026," Samarendra Kumar, project coordinator with Science City, Lucknow, told HT.
The deception came to light when some applicants got in touch with the Lucknow Science City. A police complaint was lodged on January 1, he said.
The website of the "Rashtriya Vigyan Kendra" (which translates to national science centre) claims it to be a government enterprise. It has photos of former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the home page.
"The data has been almost lifted verbatim... from the website of Nehru Science Centre, Mumbai and other National Council of Science Museums (NCSM) branches," S.M. Khened, director, National Science Centre, Delhi, told HT. He said a letter was faxed to the Delhi Police. "We would like the site to be blocked so that people don't fall prey to the fraud."
National Science Centre, Delhi, is a unit of the NCSM, an autonomous body under the ministry of culture.
"We're trying to trace those who could have hacked their site," Assistant SP Aliganj, Lucknow, Amit Pathak said.
The drafts haven't been delivered, said R.K. Mishra, senior superintendent of posts, Lucknow. "A person named Ashish did come to the post office to submit papers regarding his firm Rashtriya Vigyan Kendra once the drafts started coming in." He said documents such as registration and PAN card have to be ascertained for a new firm.
When contacted, AKS India Web Solutions, which "powers" the website, refused comment, saying they were "service providers" for design and maintenance. The person who answered the phone at the Delhi-based firm refused to give the name of the people who wanted the site designed. The website was up at the time of going to press.