The Thane crime branch have identified six Ahmedabad-based investors in the illegal call centres’ scam at Mira Road that came to light earlier this month. The six allegedly flew abroad soon after the police conducted raids at the Hari Om IT Park, where most of these call centres are located, said officials.
Meanwhile, the US Justice Department charged 61 people and entities on Thursday with taking part in the scam where agents impersonated internal revenue service, immigration and other federal officials and demanded payments for non-existent debts.
The indictment said the operators of the call centres in Ahmedabad “threatened potential victims with arrest, imprisonment, fines or deportation if they did not pay taxes or penalties to the government”.
A senior Thane crime branch official told HT that the names of Rachit Joshi, Hitesh Hingadajiya, Nirav Raichura, Nagrani brothers and Kuldeep cropped up when two more investors were interrogated earlier this week. Based on this information, the police went to their homes in Ahmedabad. “Their families claimed that they had gone abroad in connection with some office work,” the official said. Interestingly, family members of the six investors, who now figure as “wanted”, claimed they had no idea about the work they were into.
“All six of them had invested in the call centres and played laundered money from the US to India,” the official said adding that a massive hunt has been launched to trace them.
The police have learnt that of the six, Rachit was close to Saagar Thakkar, alias Saggy, the scam’s alleged mastermind. “Rachit met Saagar three to four years ago. After learning about the profits involved in illegal call centres, Rachit gathered capital and invested in a call centre,” added the official.
The police also learnt that Saagar and Rachit handled business together in Gujarat, while they would visit the Mira Road call centres occasionally. Whenever they came, they would rarely show up before the employees. “That is why the employees had little clue about their identity when queried,” said the official. The police had earlier arrested Jagdish Kanani, a Borivli resident, who had allegedly invested in one of the Mira Road call centres.