IRS Scam: Mastermind went from Ahmedabad to Dubai to Hong Kong, now in East Europe, say police

Apart from the Thane police, Thakkar’s name also figures in the investigation carried out by the US Department of Justice in the call centre scam, also termed the IRS scam, as callers pretended to be calling from the Internal Revenue Service.

Written by Mohamed Thaver | Mumbai | Published:November 2, 2016 2:06 am
Sagar Thakkar,  the racket’s alleged mastermind. Sagar Thakkar, the racket’s alleged mastermind.

SAGAR THAKKAR alias Shaggy, the suspected mastermind of the international call centre scam, escaped from Ahmedabad to Dubai to Hong Kong and is currently suspected to be holed up in an East European country, a senior officer from Thane Police said.

While the police have issued a lookout notice, meaning they will be alerted once he travels from any airport within the country, they will have to file a chargesheet before they can contact the Interpol to issue a lookout notice against him. Apart from the Thane police, Thakkar’s name also figures in the investigation carried out by the US Department of Justice in the call centre scam, also termed the IRS scam, as callers pretended to be calling from the Internal Revenue Service.

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“As per the information we received, Thakkar had immediately left the country once raids were carried out at the fake call centres and headed to Dubai. He later left Dubai and fled to Hong Kong,” the officer told The Indian Express. He added, “However, as per the latest information, he has left Hong Kong as well and is holed up in some East European country.”

The police have already issued a lookout notice for Thakkar. A lookout notice ensures that any time Thakkar approaches an airport within the country, the police officials will be alerted about it and he could then be apprehended and placed under arrest. However, in the current case, since Thakkar has already left the country, a Red Corner Notice (RCN) will have to be issued to ensure the police is alerted if he approaches any international airport.

The process for issuing an RCN, however, has a few more pre-conditions as compared to a lookout notice. Before the police approach the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), that is the nodal body for Interpol in India which issues an RCN, they will have to first file a chargesheet against the accused person. “Apart from the chargesheet, the police have to provide details like fingerprints of the person against whom an RCN is to be issued. It is only after all these conditions are fulfilled can an RCN be issued,” the officer said. Currently, the police have just till December to file the chargesheet and they are in the process of gathering evidence.

“We will hasten the process of filing the chargesheet to ensure that Thakkar no longer has a free run across countries,” the officer said. In the past, there have been cases like of gangsters like Kumar Pillai who were brought back to the country, after the Indian police were informed about their presence in a foreign land due to a RCN having been issued against them.

The police suspect Ahmedabad was the hub of these call centres and those who were successfully operating these call centres there had then moved to the Mira-Bhayander stretch.