Per police officials, the scammers raised over INR 2 Lakh loan in each student’s name, conning nearly 2,000 students
Under the agreement between the student and GeekLurn, the company was supposed to pay the installments of the loan till the student got placed
While GeekLurn made timely deposits initially, the company allegedly stopped the payments altogether two months later
The CEO of GeekLurn, an edtech company offering data science courses based in Bengaluru has reportedly been arrested on charges of defrauding thousands of students by raising educational loans in their names and misappropriating the sanctioned funds.
According to the Bengaluru Police, around 2,000 students have been impacted by the con, with a sum of INR 18 Cr being misappropriated.
According to the police officials cited by Indian Express, the scammers conned nearly 2,000 students, accumulating a total of INR 18 Cr. The loan raised in each student’s name came to over INR 2 Lakh, they said.
The arrested has been identified as Kamalapuram Srinivas Kalyan, CEO of GeekLurn.
According to his LinkedIn profile, Kalyan is the founder and MD of the alleged data science platform as well, along with three other companies under the brand name – an HR platform (GeekLurn HR), a defunct Singapore-based entity (GeekLurn Asia) and an AI platform (GeekLurn AI).
Kalyan claims to have ‘established’ a brand with a $500 Mn annual turnover with GeekLurn, though the claims seem largely unsubstantiated. Other accused include Raman PC, the CFO, and Aman, the operations head. Both of them are yet to be arrested by the police.
Incidentally, a quick LinkedIn search showed that students have been issued course completion certificates by GeekLurn as late as April 28. Inc42 could not verify the authenticity of the said certificates.
According to a LinkedIn post by one of the impacted students, a loan of INR 2.78 Lakh was allegedly taken out by GeekLurn in their name as ‘course fees’.
The student claimed that under the agreement between the student and GeekLurn, the company was supposed to pay the instalments of the loan till the student got placed and was supposed to deposit the EMI of the loan in the student’s account as a ‘scholarship’.
While the student claimed that GeekLurn made timely deposits initially, the company stopped the payments altogether two months later, leaving them with a loan.
Non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) such as Aditya Birla Finance and LiquiLoans have also been alleged to be involved in this scam by the impacted students, though these claims remain unverified.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (South) P Krishnakanth was cited as saying by IE that the alleged fraud was operating in neighbouring states as well, with authorities from Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh seeking custody of the prime accused.
“The firm was supposed to continue paying the EMI until the student secured employment, after which the responsibility would shift to the student. However, the accused failed to honour the agreement,” an officer was cited as saying.
Following the initial complaint, 13 more students came forward with similar allegations of being deceived by GeekLurn officials, the police said. The prime accused has been taken into custody for further interrogation.
The development comes amid shaking confidence in the India edtech story, as funding continues to plummet in the sector. Per Inc42 data, edtech startups in India could only manage to raise $6.2 Mn in funding in May 2023, down 82% compared to nearly $35 Mn raised last year.