Every year thousands of parents in Delhi go through the ordeal of trying to seek nursery admission for their children. Technically, an exhaustive points-based procedure is used to determine who gets in and who does not. However, beneath the facade of this "merit is supreme" procedure lurks an ugly truth.

There has been an admission mafia active in the national capital which promises the elusive nursery seat in return for a few lakh rupees. Headlines Today uncovered this racket and caught on camera the touts who unscrupulously play with young children's future.

Headlines Today camera captured a tout who claimed that for Rs.2.5 lakh he could fix a child's nursery admission to one of Delhi's most prestigious schools. It appeared to be a well-oiled scam where the admission mafia steps in the moment one applies to get his or her child admitted to a school.

Rati Talwar, who recently applied for her child's admission to a school revealed: "We gave the application... in an hour we got a call from S.K. Sharma who asked for Rs.2.5 lakh. This is the case of backdoor entry. If we give them money, he confirmed us the admission."

"He has a copy of my application. We got a random call from him... From where he got the copy of my application... He told us to give a cheque of Rs.1 lakh in Springdales School. This is harassment... then you are not meeting the criteria," she added.

The child's father Sandeep Talwar said: "He showed me application form and told me to make the payment by 4.30 pm."

Headlines Today went undercover to expose the racket and called the tout on behalf of the parents to uncover his modus operandi. EXCERPTS:

Headlines Today: Mr Sharma you spoke with Sandeep Talwar yesterday regarding admission in Springdales School. Can the admission be done?

Tout: Hold, let me see your application.

Headlines Today: Yes please.

Tout: Yes, they came to me yesterday.

Headlines Today: Is the admission possible?

Tout: Yes, it is possible. That is why I met them.

Headlines Today: What is the procedure for admission? Tell me, I will get it done.

Tout: You will have to submit a cheque of Rs.1 lakh drawn on the school's name. This will include school fee for three months. Cheque will be in favour of school. You will have to write student's name on the back of the cheque.

Headlines Today: Okay.

Tout: Along with the cheque, you will have to give me Rs.75,000 in cash and Rs.75,000 more once the admission is done. My driver will count the cash and you will get your fee slip.

The tout told Headlines Today undercover reporter that the old student association trustees would sign and recommend the child's name for admission to the school. He insisted that it was a foolproof mechanism to get admission.

Tout: There are limited seats. Seats will be sold out in one single day. I have made 4 deals soon after speaking with you.

Headlines Today: How many seats are there?

Tout: I have 28 seats

Headlines Today
: How do you get it done?

Tout: We have a quota. Old students' quota

Headlines Today
: So, how will it be done? Is it not necessary for either mother or father to be an alumnus?

Tout: No. We have a quota. Old Students' Association trustees will recommend your name and sign the letter. No interview, nothing.

Headlines Today: But how did you get our admission form? Do you get all of them?

Tout: No, I only get forms of business families

Headlines Today then met the wheeler-dealer at a location of his choice but stopped just before money was to exchange hands and confronted the man on camera.

The slimy agent left behind a bunch of admission documents in his abandoned car. Those in the know of things insisted that agents like these were on the prowl outside several reputed schools.

An RTI activist said: "This is not new. Earlier schools asked for money themselves. Now they have outsourced. Main problem is admission criteria. They are misusing management quota."

However the schools dismissed the charge.

"These touts have vested interests. Photo copies of the forms can be made... it is ridiculous. Management of this school is way above all this and transparent," said the school principal.

The first battle in the war to ensure good education for one's child could be a lesson in corruption. It is an introduction to a world of undercover deals, shady agents who brazenly display their wares and schools which stay in the background as deals are struck to fix nursery admissions.

Source: www.indiatoday.in