Barely two months after the Thane call centre scam, some call centres in India are again under the scanner of investigative agencies. The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) on November 21 busted a racket of courier firms, call centres and chemical firms allegedly involved in illegal export of psychotropic substances to the US and the UK, said official sources.
According to sources, Allied Air Express, a firm based in Mira Road in Thane district, was illegally exporting psychotropic substances in the form of tablets such as Zoltrate 10, Altrax, Nitravet 10, Onapil 2 to users in the US and UK.
“Searches were conducted at the Mira Road building of Allied Air Express and two other premises, resulting in seizure of 16 lakh tablets worth about Rs 57 lakh,” said an official source.
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Sources said foreign clients would place orders of the contraband through three call centres spread across the country. These call centres would then place the orders with Allied Air Express, which sourced the tablets from Sangli, Ludhiana and Delhi. “The tablets were packed by Allied Air Express in courier covers and sent to Delhi, from where they were sent abroad by speed post as medical samples,” said a source.
The DRI has arrested eight persons in connection with the scam, including the alleged owner of at least one call centre in Mumbai that would take orders from clients abroad.
“One person from a call centre has been apprehended. The DRI is investigating if this person is indeed the owner. The call centres that used to take orders are located in Mumbai and other places,” said a source.
While Zoltrate 10 is manufactured by Neuro Vision, Nitravet 10 is manufactured by Bengaluru-based Anglo French Drugs & Industries Ltd and Onapil is produced by Mohali-based Cyril Pharmaceuticals Pvt Ltd.
“We are interrogating people to ascertain who manufactured these substances. We are not sure if the name of the manufacturer appearing on the strips is genuine. All that would become clear as the investigation is taken forward,” said an official source.
According to the website of Allied Air Express, the company is an international express and freight forwarder offering international express service, airfreight, ocean freight, inland transportation, customs clearance and other additional services. Apart from Thane, the company also has a branch in Vapi, Gujarat. The firm could not be reached for comments.
In October, the Thane police had raided over 13 illegal call centres in connection with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) impersonation scam, where the employees of the call centres extorted about Rs 500 crore from 6,000 US citizens by posing as US tax officials.