THE THANE police probing the fake call centre case has learnt that the alleged mastermind Sagar Thakkar alias Shaggy bought an Audi R-8 car from Indian Test cricket captain Virat Kohli in May this year. The police confirmed that the cricketer was not aware of Thakkar’s background and is not linked to the scam in any way.
“We have seized the Audi R8 vehicle worth Rs 3 crore that Thakkar bought on May 7. After enquiries, we found that he had purchased it from cricketer Virat Kohli,” Thane police commissioner Param Bir Singh said.
The police seized the vehicle Friday from Rohtak, where it was hidden near a friend’s residence. DCP Parag Manere said, “Kohli obviously did not know about Thakkar’s background and is not linked to the case in any way.”
An officer said that while the 2012 Audi model was originally worth nearly Rs 3 crore when Kohli first bought it, Sagar had paid Rs 50 lakh to the cricketer and was to pay Rs 20 lakh more. “It seems that Thakkar purchased the vehicle for Rs 70 lakh. We have called the Rohtak-based agent who facilitated the deal to confirm the amount,” the officer said. He added that the vehicle ownership had not been transferred to Thakkar, as he was yet to submit his PAN card.
Thakkar has so far evaded arrest and is suspected to be holed up in Dubai along with his sister Reema, who is allegedly involved in the call centre racket. “We suspect that the Thakkars have some relatives there. Our efforts are on to get them back in the country,” the officer said.
Thakkar was born in Borivli. After facing financial setbacks, he moved with his family to Ahmedabad, from where he is suspected to have learnt the tricks for the fake call centre racket.
The US Justice Department on Friday charged 61 persons in connection with the scam, in which the call centre staffers would call up US citizens posing as their Internal Revenue Service (IRS) officials. They would threaten the US citizen to instantly settle ‘tax defaults’ by making a payment to them.
The scam was busted on October 5 with the Thane police raiding 12 call centres in the Mira Road-Bhayander area. The police suspect that Ahmedabad was the hub of these call centres.