THE MUMBAI crime branch has unearthed a call centre racket operating in Mumbai and arrested six persons. The accused, police said, had rented out five offices in the northern suburbs from where their employees would impersonate Internal Revenue Service or US Citizenship and Immigration Services officials to extort money from US and Canada citizens.
Police got a tip-off on the six men after the arrest of one Nishant Shirsekar from Malad by the Criminal Intelligence Unit of the crime branch on August 29. Police had seized Rs 5 lakh unaccounted cash along with ganja from Shirsekar.
During interrogation, police also found the man was involved in fake call centre racket where they impersonated officials from the Internal Revenue Service or US Citizenship and Immigration Services to defraud people based in the USA and Canada. Shirsekar also named the six others — Faizan Imtiyaz Balim (23), Zishan Naseer Ansari (21), Ganeshsingh Gangasingh Rajput (27), Mohammad Shahbaz Karipodi, Nitin Ganpat Rane (42), and Ozair Owais Sayyed (29) — who were running similar fake call centres in Malad, police said.
Subsequent raids on the five offices in Malad lead to the arrest of the six men, police said. They were produced in court and remanded in police custody till September 12.
“Using information obtained from data brokers and other sources, these racketeers targeted people in the US and Canada, who were threatened with arrest, imprisonment, fines or deportation if they did not pay the alleged money owed to the government,” a press statement issued by the police said. Payment were only accepted in gift cards, police said.
Around 81 men and 26 women found working for the accused at different offices in Malad have been booked for flouting lockdown norms, police added.
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