Rogue call centres in Mira Road conned the world with 'Magic'

Thane police probing the Mira Road scam say accused were using Magic Jack Express service that enabled them to make unlimited free international VoIP calls

The accused in the Mira Road call centre scam after being sent to police custody
The accused in the Mira Road call centre scam after being sent to police custody

The Thane police investigating the international racket being run from a Mira Road call centre have revealed that the accused were using a service called the Magic Jack Express to make free international VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) calls. Officers found the instruments attached to every computer during the raid.

Commissioner of Police, Thane, Parambir Singh said, "We are taking help of IT experts and trying to get details about the service and the various other tools used by the fraudsters."

The magic system
Magic Jack Express is used to make VoIP calls. "It has free directory assistance, conference calling, voicemail, call forwarding and call waiting, and caller ID among other features. It just needs to be connected with high speed Internet…" said a senior officer. It's said to be very popular in the US and Canada.

For more shocking details on Mira Road call centre scam, click here

Magic Jack Express, the instrument that the call centre staff used to make free international VoIP calls across the US
Magic Jack Express, the instrument that the call centre staff used to make free international VoIP calls across the US

Thane Crime Branch officers have purchased new instruments and are questioning the accused to find out how the whole process works. "We want to see what number is displayed on the mobile phones of the victims; we also want to check the IP address. We will see if the instrument has any call data records that can be used as evidence," said the officer.

Kingpin likely in Dubai
After coming up naught in Ahmedabad, when they went to raid five call centres from where the racket was being run, the Thane Crime Branch officers failed to find the kingpin Sagar Thakkar alias Shaggy at home too. Just like they found the call centres shut and everything removed, they failed to find Thakkar at his Nyandeshwar Apartment, Vastrapur, residence on the fourth floor.

"During investigation, we found that he used to reside in a one-room flat earlier, but later, had shifted to a posh place. He also owns a number of high-end cars. The arrested accused also revealed that he used to have a bouncer with him wherever he went. A 24-year-old became a billionaire over the last four years and used to be a Vasai resident," said an officer.

Sources said that Thakkar is suspected to have fled to Dubai. "He managed to spread the scam across states and was providing the employees with the crucial data, ie phone numbers. This is the most important, as all the other things, like office and computers, can be rented, and people too can be recruited. But the extortion can only start with that data." His sister Reema too is an accused in the case, and officers have said the two sent cash through Hawala that was later distributed among the employees as their salary.

Four-day remand
The total number of arrested accused has now gone up to 73 after one more arrest was made in a raid on Saturday. Two of the arrested being minors have been sent to a remand home. "Thirteen accused will be in police custody till October 14, four till October 13, while the rest are in judicial custody. The 13 accused include the director, partners and floor managers who had the most knowledge about the racket," said Nitin Thakre, Senior Inspector, Thane Crime Branch.

The Thane police asked for the custody of the 13 on the ground that the scam was being operated from Ahmedabad with its tentacles spread across Thane, Mira Road and Delhi, and that they need to interrogate these accused to get leads on the kingpins.

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