A THANE sessions court has rejected the anticipatory bail application of one of the accused named in the call centre scam. Ahmedabad resident Trang Patel who has been booked under several charges, including cheating, had sought anticipatory bail after the Thane Police arrested absconding accused Ashish Choudhary last month.
Choudhary, suspected to be close to the main accused in the scam, Sagar Thakkar, had allegedly converted gift cards bought by US citizens to cash. “The accused had tried to disturb the economy, not only of India but of a foreign country. Therefore, in my view, the applicant is not entitled for anticipatory bail,” the court observed while rejecting the plea. A senior official said that Patel’s name had come up after Choudhary’s arrest as one of the men working as a processor under Choudhary to help convert gift cards to cash.
The Thane police had busted the Internal Revenue Services (IRS) scam where hundreds of US citizens were allegedly duped by call centre staffers posing as revenue officials and seeking payment to avoid punishment through iTunes gift cards. In his anticipatory bail plea Patel said that his name had not cropped up in the investigation until eight months after the police busted the scam. He further submitted to the court that he was neither the owner nor an employee of the call centre and had no transaction made in his favour.
The prosecution, however, said that Patel was looking after the entire transaction of the co-accused who has been arrested. It submitted that Patel had already received the amount resulting out of the scam. Based on the submissions, the court said Patel was the “main person” who had received the amount in the case. It said that although his role was not shown as an owner, manager, caller or dialer, his role cannot be equated with that of the other accused who have been granted bail.
The Thane police has so far arrested 70 persons in the case and chargesheeted 397, including employees of the fake call centre. The police alleged that between 2012 and 2015, at least 500 employees in nine call centres in Mira-Bhayander area of Thane district allegedly made calls to US citizens duping them of an estimated $300 million.