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Mira Road call centre raid: Local Police kept out of it

Crime Branch and Thane City Police were worried that local police might divulge details of the raid to suspects hence they carried out the operation under secrecy.

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Local police stations in Thane was unaware of the raids conducted by Crime Branch on three call centres based in Mira Road in which more than 700 employees were detained. SP Mahesh Patil was present in Mira Road when raids were carried out. Dy SP Narsingh Bhonsle too learnt about the incident on the next day. Though senior police officials were aware about the raids but local police were kept in dark about it.

“Crime Branch had carried out the raids under secrecy. They have not revealed any information to local police stations like Mira Road, Kashimira, Naya Nagar and Navghar before conducting the raid. They suspected that the local police might divulge the details of the raid to suspects,” said an officer of Thane Rural Police on the condition of anonymity.

Raids were conducted at Hari Om IT park, Universal outsourcing and Oswal House simultaneously. The official and private vehicles of Thane police were parked near place where raids were conducted. When Mr Patil and Bhonsle learnt about the incident they rushed to the call centre. Since most of the accused were working in Hari Om IT park Narsingh Bhonsle had visited the spot the next day. Police don’t possess any records about the officials who were running the business. After conducting raids at three call centres police had taken all the employees and management into custody. At the time of conducting the raids all employees had reported for work. Since employees had failed to return home the next day their parents had arrived at the call centre to inquire about them. Police have arrested 70 persons and have issued showcause notice to 630 employees of the call centre.

“My son had recently joined the call centre and was unaware about the fraudulent activities happening there. He is innocent and was detained by the police for questioning,” said the parent of an employee working at Hari Om IT park.

Bale house in which Universal outsourcing call centre is situated is the hub of fraudulent activities. The interviews of candidates for joining call centres are conducted there. The recruited candidates are being trained to speak in American accent. After completion of the training they are asked to join Hari Om IT park. Few months back, police had conducted a raid at Bale House after learning about some malpractices occurring there. Call centres give preference to fresh candidates. They are also provided incentives for meeting monthly targets.

The employees would call up the US citizens and demand their financial and bank details, failing which they would allegedly threaten them with dire consequences, including legal action. After obtaining the requisite details from the American citizens, these call centre employees would siphon off money from their accounts, police said, adding daily turnover of such dealings was estimated to be over Rs 1 crore.

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