Thane, Oct 17: A Mumbai businessman who 'mentored' Sagar Thakkar alias Shaggy, the alleged mastermind of the multi-million dollar fake call center racket, wherein US-based taxpayers were allegedly conned by Indian tele-callers, has been arrested, police said today.
The 33-year-old man, identified as Jagdish Kanani was arrested from suburban Borivali last night, a senior police officer said on the condition of anonymity.
According to police, Thakkar, who is on the run, has worked under Kanani in the past at Ahmedabad and Mumbai, where he and some of his associates picked up the tricks of trade from his 'Guru'.
In fact, Kanani started out working in a BPO firm abroad where he learnt the methods of collection through outsourcing firms and brushed up his knowledge to build a lucrative business and then set up fake call centres across the country to earn a quick buck by extorting money from US victims, the officer said.
Kanani came on the police radar after leads during interrogation of the arrested accused in the racket, he said. Kanani is a prized catch for the Thane Police as it will help the cops dig more into the con syndicate which has spread its tentacles nationwide including in cities like Gurgaon, Ahmedabad and Thane, he said.
The officer said that Kanani was the brain behind the fake call centres across the country including the one at Mira Road which was raided by Thane Police earlier this month. He is suspected to have helped Thakkar in shaping and setting up his ventures.
"Now that we have arrested him, we will get to know the whereabouts of Thakkar and others, whom he also mentored," the police officer added. Crime Branch (Thane Police) have so far arrested 70 persons after it raided seven call centres operating illegally in Mira Road here.
Another 630 people were booked under IPC sections 384 (extortion), 419 (cheating by impersonation), 420 (cheating) and under relevant sections of IT Act and Indian Telegraph Act.
The callers used to make calls to people in the US and speak to them in American accent by posing as officials of US Internal Revenue Service. Subsequently, police teams also raided and shut down five call centres in Ahmedabad which were a part of the racket.
Also, investigations into the racket has led Thane Police to suspect involvement of the son of a senior IPS officer from Gujarat in running these illegal call centres in Ahmedabad.