Thane call centre scam: Police will push for deportation of ‘mastermind’

Written by Mohamed Thaver | Mumbai | Published:April 7, 2017 4:33 am
Sagar Thakkar.

The Thane police, who are trying to get the custody of Sagar Thakkar, the alleged mastermind of the call centre scam who has been traced to Dubai, will try to have him deported to India. Normally, if a person has a case in one country and is detained in another, the accused is extradited to the country where the offence has been registered. Extradition, however, can be a long-drawn process.

The Thane police had conducted raids at nine call centres in the Mira-Bhayandar belt, where callers would pose as Internal Revenue Service (IRS) officials, make calls to US citizens and threaten them to make payments.

Thakkar, who was later found to be the mastermind of the scam, had fled the country on October 5 night last year when raids were conducted on such bogus call centres.

Six months later, the Thane police were informed that Thakkar had been detained at Dubai airport. Since the process of issuing a Red Corner Notice (RCN) against him was not completed, he was allowed to go but his passport was seized by the Dubai authorities, which meant he could not leave the country.

A senior officer said: “Based on the favourable response from authorities in Dubai, we will be pushing for Thakkar to be deported as extradition is a long-drawn process. We are hoping that he can be deported back to India in a matter of months.”

He added, “We are aware that the US, too, would be interested in seeking his custody since he is named as a wanted accused in their case as well.We have hastened the process of issuing the RCN so that we could formally seek his custody.”

Thakkar’s custodial interrogation will help the police get the details of the crime.

The 24-year-old, reported to have a daily turnover of thousands of dollars, had purchased an Audi R-8 from Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli for Rs 3 crore.

Thakkar’s name as the mastermind of the scam came to light after the police interrogated the nearly 70 accused they had arrested in relation to the case.

Between 2012 and 2015, at least 500 employees from nine offices in the Mira-Bhayander area and Ahmedabad reportedly made calls to hundreds of US citizens posing as IRS officials and demanded that they settle their outstanding tax disputes or face arrests. The accused are suspected to have duped US nationals of an estimated 300 million dollars.

One arrested

The Thane police Tuesday arrested one Rases Choksi, an Ahmedabad-based man, in connection with the IRS scam. Choksi allegedly provided the bogus call centres with a Direct Inward Dialing (DID) number using which, fraudulent phone calls would be made to the US.

 

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