Sun. May 26th, 2024


Delhi Cops Bust Call Centre Gang That Duped US Citizens Of Millions

Six people have been arrested in a joint operation by Delhi Police, US’ FBI and Interpol

New Delhi:

A call centre gang run from India duped US citizens of 20 million dollars by impersonating a top officer of the US’ Drugs Enforcement Administration (DEA), Delhi Police have said.

Six people, four in India and one each in Uganda and Canada, have been arrested in a joint operation against the gang by Delhi Police, the US’ Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Interpol.

Four of those arrestd have been identified as Vatsal Mehta, Parth Armarkar, Deepak Arora and Prashant Kumar. According to police, Mehta was the mastermind of the racket and Armakar ran call centres in Uganda and India.

HCS Dhaliwal, Special Commissioner of Police, Delhi Police Special Cell said this coordinated operation has shattered the myth of impunity for those involved in such transnational crimes. “The FBI informed us of Parth Armarkar, who is originally from Gujarat but has been living in Uganda for a long time. In Uganda, he ran call centres. US’s DEA has had a senior officer, Uttam Dhillon. He (Armarkar) impersonated his identity and called the potential victims,” the senior police officer said.

In most cases, Mr Dhaliwal said, the caller posed as Uttam Dhillon from the DEA and told the target that child pornographic material had been seized on the US-Mexico border. “He would tell the victims that they have found their contact numbers and other details during their search and they could charge them with serious crimes unless they paid a penalty,” the officer said.

Mr Dhaliwal said the gang would do their homework and choose targets carefully. “They would target moneyed people who were unlikely to report the matter to law agencies. Even if a victim did a cursory search on the Internet, they would find that there indeed is one Uttam Dhillon who has been an administrator in the DEA,” he said.

The senior officer said the investigators initially thought Armarkar was the head of the gang, but later found that it was Mehta who was running the racket. After a coordinated action by the agencies, Mehta, Armarkar and two of their main associates were arrested, Mr Dhaliwal said.

The gang would mainly function out of Uganda, he said. However, recently Armarkar allegedly called a target from India and asked him to give gold bars instead of money as penalty, the officer said. “No matter in which US state the target lived, the gang would ensure that someone collected the money,” he said.

The FBI, he said, has spoken to 50-odd victims. According to the information so far, the gang siphoned off a sum of 20 million dollars through this racket, the officer said. “This is not a scam in which someone is robbed of 200-300 dollars by a software bug. Here, they have targeted over 1 lakh dollar per victim. They would profile their targets after scanning their social media accounts. For example, people who were not very tech-savvy, or lonely. They had several parameters,” Mr Dhaliwal said.

The officer said more victims are expected to come to the fore. “It is a fact that many people consume child pornography on Internet. They (the gang) would use the dark net to find people visiting pornographic sites for their voyeuristic pleasures. So the targets would be vulnerable, they would think that they had indeed visited these sites and possibly law agencies are onto them. So, they would try to avoid trouble by paying up through crytocurrency or wire transfers,” he said.


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