The crime branch of Thane police, probing the multi-crore call centre scam in which US citizens were duped by impostors who posed as IRS officers, today handed over to the accused the soft copies of charge sheet, instead of the usual hard copies.
The charge sheet filed by the crime branch on December 2, names 83 people as accused in the case and six others as absconding. Of 83, most of the accused were arrested by police in the crackdown since the scam was exposed in October.
The counsels for the accused were today given CDs of the charge sheet, stored in PDF format. The charge sheet runs into 5,786 pages.
The CDs were handed over to the counsels of the accused in the court of Judicial Magistrate First Class (JMFC) A B Katte.
One of the counsels, Vikram Chavan, told the court that as per the provisions of sections 173 and 207 of the CrPC Act, the accused should get the hard copies of charge sheet.
Chavan argued that as the accused have been given the the charge sheet in PDF format, they will now have to shell out money to take the printouts, which will defeat the very purpose of giving the charge sheet free of cost.
The accused have been booked under sections 384 (extortion), 419 (cheating by impersonation), 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property) of IPC; sections 72(1), 75 of IT Act and under Indian Telegraph Act.
Police have attached to the charge sheet, the complaints filed by some US citizens, who were allegedly duped along with the statements by several witnesses.
The fraud was unearthed after the crime branch teams raided seven call centres at Mira Road in Thane district on October 4-5. Police had registered total three FIRs in connection with the scam.
Investigators had earlier said that they have identified transactions worth Rs 25-30 crore in the scam and that it will take a long time for them to arrive at the actual figure given the magnitude of the scandal.
The alleged mastermind of the scam, Sagar Thakkar alias Shaggy, is on the run.
On October 16, police arrested Sagar’s alleged mentor Jagdish Kanani (33) from suburban Borivali. The con syndicate has spread its tentacles nationwide including in cities like Gurgaon, Ahmedabad and Thane. Besides Kanani, about 70 directors and key persons of these call centres have been arrested.
The scamsters used to procure data of US citizens through their contacts and then call their potential targets over phone by impersonating IRS officials.
According to police, the call centre employees allegedly used to threaten their targets with legal action over some ‘tax issues’, and those who used to fall prey were asked to pay immediately online.
( Source – PTI )