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Fake call centre cases exploited by corrupt Noida cops to make a killing

Though Wednesday’s incident was the first of its kind in which an SHO was arrested by the senior superintendent of police himself, it is not the first extortion case the district has witnessed.

noida Updated: Jan 31, 2019 14:53 IST
Tanmayee Tyagi
Tanmayee Tyagi
Hindustan Times, Noida
fake call centres,noida,fake call centres in noida
Police officials wait outside the office of an alleged fake call centre in Noida, on December 21, 2018. (AFP File )

Since July, 2018, Gautam Budh Nagar had become notorious for fake call centres. Over 300 persons have been arrested and 400 computers seized in about 30 raids at fake call centres in Noida last year.

A group of officials from the United States’ Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police flew down to India in July last year and called on the then Noida police chief, Ajay Pal Sharma, in a meeting coordinated by the Interpol, to tell the city police that such organisations were creating a havoc in their respective countries, duping citizens of millions of dollars.

Though Wednesday’s incident was the first of its kind in which an SHO was arrested by the senior superintendent of police himself, it is not the first extortion case the district has witnessed.

On June 18, 2018, the station house officer and a senior sub-inspector of the Sector 58 police station were suspended following an FIR by a call centre owner who levelled corruption charges against the officers. The directive to suspend the officers had come from the Uttar Pradesh director general of police after the complainant went to Lucknow and met him personally.

Anil Pratap Singh, the SHO in question, had allegedly raided a call centre in Sector 57 on the night of June 16 and had lodged a case against four persons.

The complainant had alleged the SHO had allegedly asked for a bribe of Rs18 lakh, to do away with the case. Eight other constables from the same police station were also allegedly found involved in the matter, after which they had been transferred to the police lines in Lucknow.

In a similar incident on January 13 this year, a case was registered at the Phase 3 police station against five or six unidentified, uniformed persons and three plainclothes persons, who had allegedly claimed to be from the crime branch team and had extorted Rs10 lakh from a call centre in the area. However, police officers had denied any such raid and registered a suo motu case in this regard.

Following Wednesday’s incident, senior officers said all under investigation cases specifically related to fake call centres and other economic offences will be probed by a separate team of cyber experts.

“Call centres involve complex structures and a lot of technicalities, which could be why all corruption and extortion cases in recent months have been related to them,” Sudha Singh, SP (city) Noida, said.

First Published: Jan 31, 2019 14:53 IST