Thane call centre scam: accused stalling probe
The five alleged scamsters arrested on Wednesday have been sent to police remand till March 18 after prosecution says they are not co-operating with the investigation
The five arrested accused, who ran a fake call centre, Stage Door Communications Private Limited (SDCPL), which was exposed by mid-day, were produced before the Metropolitan Magistrate court in Thane on Thursday, and remanded in police custody till March 18. Crime Branch officials also recovered seven cell phones and a laptop from the houses of the three team leaders.
Interestingly, the SDCPL scam might have been uncovered two years back, had the Naupada police heeded information given by the accused in another similar case.
A Crime Branch official said that the Naupada police had been tipped off about the fake call centre, SDCPL. which had been duping people, mainly farmers, for the past five years.
"In August 2018, the Naupada police raided a call centre at Naupada and arrested four accused, including Deepak Singh 28, Maruti Shelar, 28, Dipak Giri, 21 and Imtiaz Qureshi, 27. They had duped several people using the same modus operandi as SDCPL. They had told the Naupada police that they were only running a small call centre, but there was a big call center in Wagle Estate, which was running a huge scam in crores of rupees," said the official.
The defence lawyer argued in court on Thursday that his clients, including directors Ganesh Tiruvalli and Ganesh Manjrekar, and team leaders (TL) Gyaneshwar Kamble, Dheeraj Singh and Tushar Sonvane of SDCPL, were falsely implicated in the case.
"SDCPL was only selling insurance policies to customers over the phone. They have 100 people on the list to whom they sold the insurance policies and only failed to give a policy to victim, Arbaaz Zafar Shaikh, who registered FIR an against SDCPL," Singh, the defence lawyer said in court.
The accused Ganesh Tiruvalli, Ganesh Manjrekar, Gyaneshwar Kamble, Dheeraj Singh and Tushar Sonvane were remanded in police custody. Pic/Rajesh Gupta
Countering the claims, the senior inspector of Thane Crime Branch unit 1 Nitin Thackeray said, "We have retrieved the Call Data Records (CDRs) of the mobile numbers used by the cheaters and till date identified 20 victims who have been duped by them."
In his argument, Singh further added that the TLs at least should be granted bail immediately as they are employees of SDCPL.
Police demand accepted
Seeking remand of all the five accused, Thane police told Judge RH Jha that the money made from duping people was withdrawn from Kolkata and a team needed to visit the addresses of persons there who withdrew it. "The involvement of other accused cannot be ruled out. Hence, the police remand of all the five accused is required for further investigation of the matter," Thackeray urged the court. Judge Jha agreed to the demand and sent the accused in police remand till March 18.
Sources in the Crime Branch told mid-day that its team held combing operations at midnight at the office of SDCPL which has been shut down.
"The accused are not cooperating in the investigation," said an official, who further added, "Initially the team leaders were dodging our questions. But after severe interrogation, they revealed where the cell phones were concealed. We went to the houses of the three TLs and recovered the seven cell phones and a laptop used in the crime."
"We have requested for the Call Data Records (CDRs) of all the seven mobile numbers. Our Cyber Cell will also scan the social media accounts in the recovered smart phones," the officer added.
No. of arrested accused
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