Thane police have busted a fake call centre which allegedly duped US citizens after offering them loans and arrested 16 people in this connection, an official said on Sunday.
Acting on a tip-off, the police raided the call centre located in Wagle Estate area of Maharashtra’s Thane city on the intervening night of Friday-Saturday and nabbed the people working there, including three women, senior police inspector V B Murtadak said.
He said the accused would contact people in the US and offer them loans. After obtaining their bank account details, the accused would siphon off funds from their accounts, the official said.
An agent coordinating in the US would collect the money and transfer it to India through ‘hawala’ after taking his share from it, the police said.
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Hawala denotes illegal transaction of funds by skirting the legal banking channels.
The 16 people arrested include the call centre owners – Siddesh Sudhir Bhaidkar (33) and Sania Rakesh Jaiswal (26), the official said.
A juvenile was also detained in connection with the offence and later handed over to his parents after completion of legal formalities, the official said. The police have seized various equipment, gadgets and data from the call centre, he said. Offences were registered against the accused under relevant provisions of the Indian Penal Code, Information Technology Act and the Indian Telegraph Act, the official said. The accused were on Saturday produced before a local magistrate who remanded them in police custody for seven days, he said.