Thane call centre scam: ‘Mastermind met wife while on run in Dubai’

Establishing money trail proving tough as Thakkar deleted records of transactions made in bitcoins, iTunes cards, say cops.

Written by Mohamed Thaver | Mumbai | Published:April 11, 2017 1:35 am
Thane call centre, call centre scam, IRS scam, sagar thakkar, mastermind, thane, thane call centre fraud, dubai, thane call centre fraud mastermind, maharashtra, indian express Sagar Thakkar, the racket’s alleged mastermind.

The thane police probing those who gave refuge to call centre scam ‘mastermind’ Sagar Thakkar while he was on the run in Dubai have learnt that his wife had visited him in that country. Officers, however, said that Thakkar’s wife, whom he married in Ahmedabad last year, was not linked to the case.

The Thane police are looking for at least 15 people wanted in the case. “Thakkar told us that he got married last year in Ahmedabad. His wife did visit him in Dubai while he was on the run,” an officer said, adding “We wanted to check if there was anyone who was helping him in Dubai. So far, nothing to that effect has come to light.”

The Thane police is now primarily focussing on nabbing the wanted accused. “There are some accused we want to arrest while we still have Thakkar’s custody, so that we can interrogate them together,” a senior officer said.

Apart from this, the other priority is establishing the money trail. “This is turning out to be a challenge, since most of the payments were either through iTunes cards or bitcoins,” the officer said.

The police have found that Thakkar got in touch with an American national, Jerry Morris, who would initially collect money on his behalf in the US and transfer it to him. “These were early days, when Thakkar was selling data from the Internet. For example, he would search for people interested in purchasing cars and sell the data at high prices to car sellers. The money earned in this manner would be sent through Morris,” the officer said.

Thakkar would allegedly offer similar services through a platform called ‘mastrot’ for lawyers, whereby he would sell data of people looking for lawyers to lawyers willing to pay for the information. He would use the services of call centres to conduct this trade, police said.

However, later, when he got involved in the IRS scam, Thakkar switched to iTunes cards. “He has deleted all these records before surrendering. We are checking if the data can be retrieved,” the officer said.

Thakkar was arrested by the Mumbai police from the airport on Friday night when he came to India from Dubai. After the Thane police conducted raids at fraudulent call centres operating from the Mira Road Bhayandar belt on October last year, Thakkar had fled to Dubai. So far, the police have arrested over 70 persons and chargesheeted 497 people in the case.

mohamed.thaver@expressindia.com

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