Though Sagar Thakkar alias Shaggy, 24, has been in police custody for a week, the cops have neither been able to trace his ill-gotten millions, nor other important players in the scam, including members of the Thakkar family who have been absconding.
The alleged mastermind of the multi-crore bogus call centre scam, Shaggy was arrested upon his arrival from Dubai last Friday. A court in Thane granted the police custody of him till Thursday.
The Thane crime branch approached the court on Thursday, seeking that Shaggy’s custody be extended. It pleaded that it was necessary to interrogate Shaggy to not only trace the location of his assets, but also find out information about the other accused. The court extended Shaggy’s custody till April 17.
A senior Thane police official admitted that Shaggy had taken steps to ensure that his crimes could not be traced back to him before he decided to return to India, following the red corner notice (RCN) that Interpol issued against him.
In Dubai, Shaggy used a masked US number to stay in touch with his family and acquaintances in Ahmedabad over WhatsApp. These calls did not show up in his cell phone call records, making it impossible for police to establish the identity of the receivers. Worse still, police found just four numbers in the contact lists of the two iPhones recovered from Shaggy.
Though Shaggy said his parents were in Rajasthan when he last spoke to them, police have still not been able to trace them.
While Shaggy was in Dubai, his father Mukesh allegedly sold his 5,000 square feet bungalow in Ahmedabad for Rs2.5 crore. Shaggy sold his BMW SUV, which cost him Rs50 lakh, through an agent. The police took Shaggy to Ahmedabad on Wednesday to identify five of his bank accounts, which they hoped would help them follow the money trail.
To their disappointment, four of these accounts collectively contained Rs25,000. Rs. 2.5 crore had been wired to an overseas account from the fifth one. Police said Shaggy told them he used the money to foot his expenses in Dubai.
Earlier this year, Shaggy had been detained for more than two months in Dubai after the United States issued an RCN against him. He hired a battery of lawyers, who managed to persuade the authorities to let him off on grounds of insufficient evidence.
Police have also failed to find the alleged ‘processors’ of the iTune cards, which Shaggy took from the victims of the scam run from call centres at Mira Road. Shaggy allegedly told the victims that agents in China would help these processors encash those cards for a cut.
In the absence of any concrete evidence that could bolster the case against the mastermind, police are now contemplating asking the Thane court to issue a letter rogatory to a US-based court, so they can obtain digital evidence against Shaggy. “His calls, made over WhatsApp, can only be retrieved from a server that is in the US. Recovering his deleted e-mails (from the server) would help trace his money,” sources added.