Following the crackdown on illegal call centres in Mira Road earlier this month, Jagdish Kanani, who owned two similar illegal BPOs in suburban Mumbai wrapped up his business and threw crucial office data into the creek at Ghodbunder, ostensibly to destroy evidence.
Kanani, 33, was arrested by the Thane crime branch nearly a fortnight after the Mira Road raids from his house in Borivli. Police said he ran two illegal call centres in Borivli and Malad, apart from making investments in one of the call centres in Hari Om IT park in Mira Road.
Pleading for an extension of his custody on Thursday, the crime branch told a court that the data which Kanani claimed to have thrown into the creek included files pertaining to the company’s finances, computer hard disks, names and information of employees as well as particulars about US citizens. Employees at Kanani’s call centres would masquerade as United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS) officials in order to extort American taxpayers by making threatening calls.
The police had visited the spot on the bridge from where Kanani claimed to have thrown the documents into the creek. Nothing was found.The police grew suspicious of his claims. “The bridge where Kanani claims to have thrown the documents (and hard disks) from has been closed for two-way traffic due to repairs. In the one-way traffic on the narrow bridge, it is impossible for anyone to halt a car and throw documents into the creek,” said assistant commissioner of police M Hatote
During a search of his office , the police found hard disks with holes drilled in to them, ostensibly to destroy the data inside. Kanani said he had borrowed the drilling machine from his office electrician a few weeks ago. However, the electrician told the police that Kanani had taken the machine six months ago and returned it afterwards.
The court, heeding the police’s plea that Kanani needed to be interrogated further to clarify certain facts, extended his police custody till October 26.
Crime branch sources said Kanani had gone to America four times in the past three or four years, with the last trip earlier this year. Police are trying to identify who he visited.
Sources also said Kanani ran another illegal call centre in Ahmedabad. “His partners in that call centre have been identified as Brijesh and Dhruvil. They will be arrested soon.”
The Naya Nagar police in Mira Road on Thursday arrested Sufiyan Mohammad , 23,who worked as a manager in one of the illegal call centres at Hari Om IT Park. His brother, Mohammad Ali, too worked as floor manager in another call centre and is currently absconding.