22-year-old who ran call centre that conned US nationals arrested: Police
This is the second time that Karan Bhatt, a class 12 pass out, has been arrested for conning US nationals. Bhatt was arrested from Punjab and brought to Indore, police said
BHOPAL: A 22-year-old man who ran a call centre, first in Indore and later in Chandigarh, which allegedly duped more than 1,000 US citizens of their savings was arrested from Punjab on Tuesday, a senior police officer said in Indore on Thursday.
This is the second time that Karan Bhatt, a class 12 pass out from Gujarat’s Ahmedabad, has been arrested for conning US nationals, Indore’s deputy commissioner of police (DCP) Nimish Agrawal said.
He was arrested in August 2018 in Gujarat where he first started out working at a call centre that conned US nationals. After his release on bail, Bhatt shifted base to Indore and started his own centre with a ₹5 lakh investment for laptops, phones and a database of social security details of US citizens.
Bhatt was arrested from Punjab on Tuesday and produced before a court in Indore the following day. The judge remanded him in police custody for five days to enable the authorities to shut down the entire operation and trace the millions that he is believed to have made.
Bhatt’s goal was to run the business for eight more years and retire by the age of 30, said Agarwal.
DCP Agrawal added that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had also been tracking the case and extending assistance.
“FBI officers visited Indore several times to connect victims with police and to help Indore police in the investigation,” he said.
Karan Bhatt allegedly told the police in his initial interrogation that he mastered the American accent during his initial days at a call centre that he started working for in 2018 after the death of his father. He was assigned the job of calling up their targets in the US, posing as an official from the United States Social Security Administration and claiming that their social security number was used in scams or by drug traffickers and get them to give them money.
Bhatt’s Indore operations were disrupted in November 2020 when the Indore police busted the call centre and arrested 22 people. Bhatt relocated to Punjab and opened a new call centre in Chandigarh three months ago.
Bhatt told the police that there were three sections within the call centres. “One to call the people to be targeted. Another to finalise a deal and third to receive the money. The payment wing sends the money deposited in foreign banks to India via hawala, the DCP said.