All of 24 years old, Sagar Thakkar alias Shaggy was young but wise enough to know that it is family and friends that make a rich life. After all, it was with their help that he raked in crores through the call centre scam that was recently busted at Mira Road.
73 people have been caught by the police so far, including two minors
Thakkar managed to tempt his friends to work for the call centre scam by luring them with the high life — luxury cars, 5-star hotels and dreams of earning in crores. Instead, their life has hit rock bottom ever since the police busted the racket on a week ago. Thakkar’s own sister, Reema is now wanted for her role in handling the accounts of the illegal company based out of Ahmedabad.
Mumbai to Ahmedabad
Thakkar originally hails from Vasai, and did his schooling in Mumbai until Std VI, when he moved to Ahmedabad, where he went on to complete his graduation. Investigations have revealed that just a few years ago, he used to live in a one-room flat at Nyandeshwar Apartments, Vastrapur. However, he quickly became a multi-millionaire and moved into a more posh residence. He then used his high-flying life to impress his friends and persuade them to work for him.
Friends like these
One of the accused in the case — Narayan (name changed) – revealed how he was content with his life in Nalasopara until he got a call from his childhood friend, Thakkar, about 1.5 years ago. “He had opened a new service centre and was washing vehicles there until 18 months ago, when he received a call from Thakkar asking details about his life. Narayan told him that he was earning about Rs 10,000 a month. Thakkar replied that he had become a billionaire ever since he got a contract with a US-based multi national company. Then Thakkar told Narayan to join him in Ahmedabad,” said an officer from the investigation team.
Read Story: Mira Road call centre scam: What we know so far
Narayan arrived at the Ahmedabad station to find a Mercedes waiting to pick him up, after which he was whisked to a five-star hotel. “Narayan said he was overwhelmed by the VIP treatment and started dreaming of riches,” added the officer. But even though he was staying at a five-star hotel, he could not bear to be apart from his parents for long. “He decided to quit and came back home. But Thakkar contacted him again two months ago, in August. He offered double the salary and said Narayan could operate from Mira Road,” said a cop.
Pyramid of trust
Cops also found that three directors of the company and the floor manager of the call centre were also in the same friends circle. Thakkar trusted his friends enough to employ them, and they then hired friends of their own. Thakkar and his sister would visit every month to distribute cash among the employees. “The chain of employees started expanding after others also started hiring their friends. The scam had been operating out of Ahmedabad for two years, but the Mira Road centre started some months ago,” said the officer.
The Magic Jack Express VOIP service that was used in the scam to make calls, was — according to the Thane police — also used by terrorists during the 26/11 attacks. Cops revealed that the device is only available in the US and Canada and is mostly smuggled into Mumbai. “We are searching for the person who sold it illegally,” said an officer.