Crime Branch busts call centre racket targeting US, Canada citizens; 6 held

The Mumbai Crime Branch busted a call centre racket involving people posing as IRS and immigration officials and extorting money from US and Canada citizens after threatening them with penal action over financial matters.

One person was arrested from Malad by the Crime Intelligence Unit on August 29 and his interrogation revealed the call centre racket operating out of Ijmima Market building and Sej Plaza on Marve road in the suburb, an official said.

"Unit XI and CIU teams raided five call centres operating there and arrested six people, the action continuing till the early hours of Saturday. Those arrested are Faizan Balim (23), Zishan Ansari (21), Ganeshsingh Rajput (27), Mohammed Shahbaz Koripodi, Nitin Rane (42), Ozair Sayyad (29)," he said.

"The accused would call up US and Canada citizens as Internal Revenue Service or immigration officials and threaten them with fines, jails, even deportation, if they did not pay money owed to the government. These overseas numbers were obtained illegally," the official explained.

They were also found selling narcotics like Tramadol and medicines like Sildenafil, an ingredient in Viagra, the official added.

"Despite the COVID-19 outbreak and social distancing norms in place, we found 81 men and 26 women working in the call centres that were raided. They have been booked under relevant provisions. The six accused have been remanded in police custody till Friday," the official said.

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