THE DETECTION of Crime Branch (DCB) in Rajkot busted an illegal call centre and detained nine persons, including a woman and three teenagers, for allegedly posing as officers of the United States Social Security Administration (SSA) and defrauding US citizens by threatening them of legal proceedings if they did not pay up.
A team of the Crime Branch raided an office on the eighth floor of Alfa Plus Complex near Raiya Telephone Exchange on 150 Ring Road of the city and detained five men, a woman and three teenage boys.
The accused have been identified as Dhiren Katuva (29), Sumer Solanki (24), Vikram Gupte (26), Atul Istwala (23), Irshad Ali (25), and Dipti Bist (26). Police said that Katuva, Solanki, Gupte and Bist are natives of Mumbai; Istwala is a native of Ambala in Haryana, while Ali was a resident of Mehrauli in Delhi. The three teenagers are natives of Nagaland and had dropped out of school after studying till class 10, but are fluent in English. Police said that Solanki has visited countries like Russia, Gabon and the United Arab Emirates and also has the experience of working in business processing outsourcing. The accused were booked under IPC Sections 406 (Criminal breach of trust), 420 (Cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property), 409 (Criminal breach of trust by public servant, or by banker, merchant or agent) and under the Information Technology Act.
DCB police inspector Viral Gadhvi said that the nine accused had rented an accommodation on Race Course Ring Road and set up the call centre there. Police seized 10 desktop computers, two laptop computers, cables, routers and 10 mobile phones from the accused. Gadhvi said that mastermind of the racket, Devendra alias Nano, would source the personal data of US citizens and pass it on to Katuva.
“Katuva would then send bulk voice messages to 5,000-6000 US citizens in one go, telling them that since they were indulging in illegal activities, their social security numbers were likely to be deleted. The accused would say that they had gotten details from local police and that cases of money laundering, drug trafficking, etc. would be registered against them, eventually resulting in their arrests and incarceration To prevent that, the accused would ask their targets to purchase them gift vouchers of Walmart and Rite Aid worth 100 to 500 US dollars,” Gadhvi said. The illegal activity continued in Rajkot for 12 days, he added.
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