In the absence of key players, the probe into the money trail in the alleged multi-million dollar Thane call centre scam has hit a roadblock. The assessment by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) suggests more than 6,500 taxpayers in the US have lost more than Rs500 crore within a year.
The Thane crime branch raided nine call centres in Mira Road a fortnight ago and arrested more than 75 people, including floor managers, accountants and even an investor. However, the mastermind of the scam, Shaggy alias Sagar Thakkar, 23, his sister Reema and four of his close associates are yet to be arrested.
While some police officers suspect Shaggy, known for his flamboyant lifestyle, has escaped to Dubai, some feel he is in his homestate Gujarat.
“It seems they planned their exit route carefully, the way they ran the racket,” the official said, adding that the police are examining the call records of the suspects and their relatives to find their last location. “We believe the wanted accused are in touch with their friends and relatives to get updates on the investigation.”
M Hatote, assistant commissioner of police (ACP), said, “We are trying to gauge how their mind functions. This is a sensitive case and we are confident of catching them.”
While the police know the money extracted from taxpayers in the US was transferred to India through hawala channels, they are unclear about the money generated over the years, the conduits of the scam in the US and how the amount was distributed.
“There are many questions related to the financial trail. We believe there are many more players involved. We can’t move ahead with the investigation till we find Shaggy and his aides,” the official added.
The Thane police have alerted the immigration authorities and issued a lookout notice against Thakkar.