Mumbai

Fake call centre busted in Vikhroli

The police have seized 24 mobile phones, two laptops, 30 SIM cards from the fake call centre.

The police have seized 24 mobile phones, two laptops, 30 SIM cards from the fake call centre.  

‘Employees’ posing as insurance agents lured school principal with lucrative offer

The Mora Coastal police have busted a fake call centre that was operating under the name of Siddhivinayak Enterprises with the sole aim of conning people. Former call centre employees of insurance companies, who had stolen data while quitting their jobs, had started the call centre around eight months ago.

The gang was busted after a 52-year-old school principal, Ganpat Mhatre, was cheated by the accused who introduced themselves as executives from DHFL life insurance. Mr. Mhatre, who owned a DHFL life insurance policy, had not been paying instalments for the past few months. “The accused got in touch with Mr. Mhatre in January claiming to be from the insurance company and gave him a lucrative offer. They told Mr. Mhatre that if he paid his pending instalment of ₹96,000, the company would pay him a settlement amount of ₹34.90 lakh since he was an old customer,” said senior police inspector Dattatray Kindre from Mora Coastal police station.

The accused sent forged letters under the Income Tax Department and DHFL letterheads with the details of the offer. Mr. Mhatre deposited the amount in an account at Indian Bank’s Virar branch, belonging to Vikrant Mangesh Shirodkar. “After paying the amount, the mobile number from which the accused had made calls were not reachable,” Mr. Kindre said.

After receiving a complaint from Mr. Mhatre, a police team traced the caller’s last location to Vardhaman Complex, Vikhroli. “The Mora Coastal police was short-staffed, and took help from Nhava Sheva and Uran police stations. Our men started keeping watch at every shop in the complex. After a few days, we realised the call centre was being operated from a shop named Siddhivinayak Enterprises,” Mr. Kindre said. None of the shops nearby knew what actually happened in Siddhivinayak Enterprises. The shop had also stationed two men outside.

On July 16, the police raided the call centre, arrested 10 people and seized 24 mobile phones, two laptops, 30 SIM cards, rubber stamps and documents. Arvind Suresh Singh and Ashishkumar Kamlesh Tiwari, who already have cases of fraud registered against them, were the masterminds. Mr. Shirodkar, whose account was being used to get the money transferred, opened accounts in various banks just to receive the money from people cheated by the gang. He was arrested on Sunday.

Mr. Shirodkar would also keep changing his residence so he could open the accounts. “After using the address proof of one house to create an account, he would leave the house and take up another house on rent. He used his real name and photo to create bank accounts. On every transaction in his account, he received a commission of 12%. He would never again visit the bank again, and would withdraw money only from ATMs,” Mr. Kindre said.

The police have seized six bank accounts used for the transaction, out which four were in Mr. Shirodkar’s name. “As per the details of three accounts, ₹20 lakh has been deposited. Many people have been cheated in a similar way in Thane and Mumbai,” said Mr. Kindre.

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Printable version | Apr 6, 2020 1:05:47 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/fake-call-centre-busted-in-vikhroli/article24498945.ece

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