In September 2020, Dr Mahesh, a resident of Andhra Pradesh’s Piduguralla, was asked by his family to verify the credentials of a potential groom for his cousin. “The man’s certificates said he was Dr G Varun Kumar who had studied in Dr NTR University of Medical Sciences in Vijayawada, so I checked with my friends there,” said Dr Mahesh to TNM. “They told me that the real Dr Varun is 35 years old and married. So I figured both were different people. My friends then put me in touch with the real Dr Varun,” he added.
This call from Dr Mahesh, however, did not come as a shock for Dr Varun. For at least six years now, an unidentified man has been pretending to be him. From trying to secure jobs to taking loans and now even committing matrimonial fraud, Dr Varun has seen it all.
For nearly a week in May 2018, the fake Dr G Varun Kumar attended to patients at Specialist Hospital, Super Speciality Hospital in Bengaluru, “The man had applied for a full-time position as a general physician and we were trying him out at the hospital,” said Dr Sangi Reddy, General Surgeon with the hospital, “He seemed to know the basics such as checking blood pressure temperature, etc, he surely knew enough to pass off as a general physician. Which is why we thought of hiring him,” he added.
Dr Sangi Reddy then carried out background checks and found that the real Dr G Varun Kumar was employed as a General Physician at Russh Hospital, Suchitra, in Hyderabad, “The man who claimed to the Dr Varun Kumar said he is a native of Warangal, and so I reached out to a few doctors there to find out about his practice and behaviour with patients. But they told me that the real Dr G Varun Kumar was in Hyderabad,”.
The real Dr G Varun Kumar, who works as a General Physician at Russh Hospital in Hyderabad
The unidentified man had given the hospital certificates to prove his academic qualifications, and they looked original, “When we asked for additional details to ascertain his identity he produced a pan card in the name of G Varun Kumar with his picture on it."
However, at some point the man felt his cover was blown and stopped showing up at the hospital, ”We did some inquiry based on the contacts he had given. He seems to be from an impoverished background from Vijayawada, but we haven’t found out his real name,” the doctor added.
The imposter has been using the doctor’s credentials using them as Know Your Customer (KYC) documents for availing credit cards and bank loans from SBI, standard chartered and Bajaj Finance. "It first came to my notice that someone used my educational credential improperly when I got threatening calls from recovery agents from Bangalore in 2016. He had taken loans and credit cards on my KYC documents and became a defaulter," wrote Dr Varun Kumar in his police complaint. The accused has even managed to create a fake aadhaar id and has opened bank accounts using the doctor's credentials, “I suspect he got copies of these documents from some scanning centre,” said Dr Varun who later found that his identity has been misused by imposer for the past seven years, since 2014.
After the failed attempt to gain employment at the hospital in Bengaluru, the imposter succeeded in duping Rs 1.5 lakh from the hospital management of Sevasadan Lifeline Superspeciality Hospital, Miraj in Maharashtra. “I got a call from Dr Ravi Kanthpatil, the director of the hospital that this unknown person took Rs 1.5 lakh cheque as a joining bonus and ran away. He gave my phone number as a secondary contact," said Dr Varun.
Dr Ravi Kanthpatil told TNM that his hospital was duped of Rs 1.5 lakh, the hospital registered a complaint against the unknown man at the Intezar ganj police station in Maharashtra in 2018. "He was friendly and polite. Had the typical mannerisms of a postgraduate doctor. He came to us with a reference from a Gulbarga based doctor who knew me personally. Even that doctor was surprised, he had even worked at the hospital in Gulbarga," the doctor added.
This year the real Dr Varun received calls from three persons accusing him of taking money and then absconding, "This unknown person is causing great stress to me since 2014 by using my credentials and endangering my identity as a doctor. My reputation is in great danger by his actions.". The doctor has sought public help to help nab the imposter.
P Saidulu Station House Officer with Jagathgirigutta police station said, "We haven’t ascertained his identity yet. The investigation is ongoing."