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Thane tele fraud: We were unaware of illegal activities, say 2 managing directors

Wasim Salim Qureshi, 23, and Nasir Salim Ghori, 29, were elated at being made ‘managing directors’ of a call centre at Delta building, Mira Road, in

mumbai Updated: Oct 08, 2016 00:49 IST
Debasish Panigrahi
The Thane police raided seven call centres at Delta, arrested 72 people – including eight managing directors – and issued notices to about 700 others.
The Thane police raided seven call centres at Delta, arrested 72 people – including eight managing directors – and issued notices to about 700 others. (Pramod Thakur/HT PHOTO)

Wasim Salim Qureshi, 23, and Nasir Salim Ghori, 29, were elated at being made ‘managing directors’ of a call centre at Delta building, Mira Road, in August. With a Rs40,000 monthly salary and a chance to head teams over of 150 people, Qureshi, a college dropout, and Ghori, a school dropout, felt they had made it.

However, their joy was short-lived; on Tuesday night, the Thane police raided seven call centres at Delta, arrested 72 people – including eight managing directors – and issued notices to about 700 others. Qureshi, Ghori, and 64 others, are now in police custody until October 10.

Read: Call centre scam hit UK, Australia too

Both men claimed they had no idea about the alleged illegalities at their respective firms, claiming they were in charge of recruitments. “We have no idea about the day-to-day activities of the organisations,” Ghori said.

However, inspector Nitin Thackeray of the Thane crime branch, the key investigator, said both were aware of what was going on as they worked directly under the promoters. “In fact, they were instrumental in spreading their business,” Thackeray added.

Qureshi, a resident of Naya Nagar at Mira Road, dropped out of college three or four years ago, while in the second year of his BCom course. “Family circumstances forced me to drop out,” he told HT while being taken to court. “Initially I helped my father in his tours and travels business, which was not doing well. With no stable income from there, I decided to join a BPO (I Surf, near Rasaaz theatre, Mira Road),” he said.

“We were service providers for a multinational technology firm. I joined as a telephone executive and my initial salary was Rs10,000,” he said. “After a couple of years, the company shifted to another location (Delta building) at Mira Road,” he added.

Qureshi said the call centre’s promoters were impressed by his communication skills and promoted to team leader before putting him in charge of recruitment.

Ghori, also from Naya Nagar, dropped out of school in Class 10 and has a diploma in interior design. “I opened an interior design shop near the Western Express Highway. However, business was hit by the recession-like situation,” he said. Ghori then joined Zillion Consultancy, a call centre that provides technical assistance to a multinational firm, around the same time as Qureshi and on the same salary.

Like Qureshi’s, his office was shifted to Delta in August. Soon after, their salaries were hiked to Rs40,000. “Our work profile changed suddenly. It was a culture shock for both of us but the huge salary hikes and promotions kept us there,” Qureshi said.