Sagar Thakkar alias Shaggy
In the latest development in Mira Road call centre scam, the Thane Crime Branch on Sunday arrested the ex-boss of Sagar Thakkar alias Shaggy, the kingpin of the massive fraud.
According to a report in Mumbai Mirror, Jagdish Kanani (35), who was nabbed from Borivli, had launched a bogus call centre in Ahmedabad in 2010. According to cops, it was Kanani trained Thakkar as far as technology and approaching Americans is concerned. The police further informed that Thakkar actually moved to Mumbai following a dispute with Kanani, and this is when he started his own con call centre in Mira Road. However, the two apparently put behind their differences and started working again together earlier this year.
A source from the Thane Crime Branch told Mumbai Mirror that Kanani was a “known name” in parallel BPO world in India. He ‘specialised’ in cheating Americans by promising loans on paycheck advances. “Kanani’s staffers would contact victims in the US claiming to be representatives of companies that offered short-term loans, called ‘payday loans’ in the US. The callers would identify themselves as attorneys for the loan companies and obtained credit card information, dates of birth, confidential telephone numbers and other personal information, which they would use to withdraw money from the victims’ account. In some cases, there are complaints of these people threatening the victims with blackmailing,” the source told Mumbai Mirror.
The report further said that Kanani came under cops’ radar after following the arrest of a woman named Nikita Patel in Leonia in Bergen County, New Jersey. “Nikita was arrested in January this for being a part of a gang from India that ran payday scams in the US. She is believed to be a close associate of Kanani,” sources told Mumbai Mirror.
Deputy Commissioner of Police Parag Manera told Mumbai Mirror that said Kanani’s nabbing is a big boost. “Kanani’s arrest will help us provide a lot of details about Thakkar and other accused. Kanani seems to be the brain behind executing the scam.”
Crime Branch (Thane Police) have so far arrested 70 persons after it raided seven call centres operating illegally in Mira Road here. Another 630 people were booked under IPC sections 384 (extortion), 419 (cheating by impersonation), 420 (cheating) and under relevant sections of IT Act and Indian Telegraph Act.
The callers used to make calls to people in the US and speak to them in American accent by posing as officials of US Internal Revenue Service. Subsequently, police teams also raided and shut down five call centres in Ahmedabad which were a part of the racket.
Also, investigations into the racket has led Thane Police to suspect involvement of the son of a senior IPS officer from Gujarat in running these illegal call centres in Ahmedabad.
Investigators found that the call centres in Ahmedabad, which were raided by local police recently, resumed their operations soon afterwards. Thane Crime Branch is probing why no concrete action was taken against these call centres. During interrogation of several arrested accused, investigators got information about illegal call centres running in Pralhad Nagar in Ahmedabad since 2009.
Police also found a huge server installed in one of these call centres (in Ahmedabad) which had the entire data base generated from the call centres which were part of the racket, including the ones in Mira Road.
Haider, one of the arrested men, has told police that Thakkar allegedly gave 30 per cent of the ill-gotten income to his agents in the United States who provided him data base of
US tax-payers. Of the remaining amount, 40 per cent went to Tapesh Gupta, Akhilesh Singh, Rahul Dogra, Jimmy (all absconding accused) and Haider, while Sagar kept the 60 per cent share. The daily turn-over from the call centers in Mira Road was around Rs 2 crore, police said.
(With PTI inputs)