SAGAR THAKKAR alias Shaggy, the ‘mastermind’ of the call centre racket that targeted hundreds of American residents, was allegedly in the business of selling private data of people to fraudsters before he set up his own call centres and started using the data there.
One of his associates told The Indian Express on condition of anonymity that Thakkar was in dire straits until a few years ago and could not even afford to pay the rent of his Nallasopara flat, where he lived with his mother.
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It was his move to Ahmedabad with his mother that turned things around for him financially. Over the past year, he was seen moving in high end-cars flanked by bodyguards, the associate said.“Sagar told me that he was born and brought up in Borivli. However, his father faced huge losses in business and the family had to move to Nallasopara,” the associate said.
“Within a few years, they faced financial crisis again and could not afford the Nallasopara house. At this point, his sister, who was married in Ahmedabad, called them there and took care of them financially,” he added. There, Thakkar lived in the Vastrapur area in Ahmedabad in a 1-room-kitchen apartment.
The associate said, “He told me that before he got into the call centre business, he was in the business of data theft, where he sold the acquired data at high profits. I think he got the data from abroad. This move really worked for him and soon he started a big call centre in Ahmedabad and then went onto set up centres in the Mira Road-Bhayander belt as well, where he used this data.”
“He acquired a taste for high-end cars and would sometimes come in his Audi TT — a two door sports car — or a vehicle and would have two bodyguards alongside. We were all too awed by his wealth. He had become a big man. We would not ask him how he suddenly earned so much money,” the associate said.
The associate said that all along, Thakkar had been claiming that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) had outsourced to them the work of collecting taxes. It was only around a month ago, the associate said, that he was convinced of some wrongdoing at the call centres and he approached Thakkar through another manager.
“Thakkar, who would operate from Ahmedabad, informed us that the next time he came to Mumbai, he would get the paperwork to prove that the IRS had actually outsourced them the job of collecting money from US citizens,” the associate said.