The city crime branch has busted at least five call centres from Malad for allegedly duping American and Canadian citizens. Apart from duping foreign nationals, the accused were found selling narcotic substances and viagra to the people in these countries, said an official.
Acting on a tip-off, a team from crime branch unit 11 and Criminal Intelligence Unit (CIU) conducted raids at the call centres in Ijmima Market Building and Sej Plaza Marve Road on the intervening night of Friday and Saturday. Six persons identified as Faizan Imtiyaz Balim (23), Zishan Naseer Ansari (21), Ganeshsingh Gangasingh Rajput (27), Mohammad Shahbaz Karipodi, Nitin Ganpat Rane (42) and Ozair Owais Sayyed (29) were arrested for allegedly running and managing these call centres. According to the police, over 20 people were found working at each of the call centres. They were booked for violating lockdown norms as well.
According to the police, people in the US and Canada were being duped by the callers from these call centres. Sometimes, these call centre employees, posed as Internal Revenue Services (IRS) officers or US Citizenship and Immigration services officers, threatened the foreign nationals with arrest, imprisonment, fines or deportation if they failed to pay the alleged money owed to the government. Fearing the threats, citizens of these countries ended up paying them. The money was accepted in gift cards.
Sometimes, the foreign citizens were duped with other modus operandi as well, said an official. The accused were also found selling and trafficking narcotic substances, such as Tramadol, and unprescribed medicines, such as Sildenafil, commonly used in Viagra to the people in these countries.
In the last week of August, the CIU had arrested Nishant Shirsikar, 30, for allegedly being a key person in an international call centre racket. According to the police, Shirsikar allegedly provided foreign nationals’ data to his associates. He also helped in training people on how to dupe the foreign nations and helped in setting up call centers.