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Jagdish Kanani hired Sagar Thakkar three years ago at his call center in Ahmedabad. They fought over money, and Thakkar opened his own call center on Mira Road

Mumbai: In a massive breakthrough in fake call center Mira Road, the Thane scam crime Branch arrested the former boss of Sagar Thakkar aka Shaggy, the mastermind behind the fraud, which could total thousands of rupees, on Sunday.

Police say Jagdish Kanani, 35, who was arrested from Borivali, set up a fake call center in Ahmedabad in 2010 and “trained” Thakkar on technology and how to approach victims in America. The police also said that Thakkar moved to join them Mumbai after a money dispute with Kanani and opened his own Con call center on Mira Road, but the two had reconciled and actually started working again in March of this year.

A source for the Thane Crime Branch said Kanani is a “big name” in the parallel BPO world in India, specializing in defrauding Americans by promising easy loans on pay advances. “Kanani employees contacted victims in the US claiming they were representatives of companies that offered short-term loans, called ‘payday loans‘ in the US. The callers posed as the financial institutions ‘lawyers and were given credit card information, birth dates, confidential phone numbers and other personal information that they could use to withdraw funds from the victims’ accounts. In some cases, there have been complaints that these people threaten the victims with blackmail, ”the source said.

Police said Kanani came on their radar after the arrest of a woman named Nikita Patel in Leonia, Bergen County, New Jersey. “Nikita was arrested in January of this year for being part of a gang from India that was carrying out payday scams in the United States. She is believed to be a close associate of Kanani, ”Thane Crime Branch sources said.

Police said Kanani’s scam call center may have been blown up three years ago, but Gujarat police did not respond to warnings from US authorities. “In 2013, the US authorities arrested a man named Aakash Patel, whereupon the US Federal Trade Commission notified the Indian authorities of fraudulent debt collection calls from an Ahmedabad-based company. This call center was in all likelihood run by Kanani, ”the source said.


‘SHAGGYS GURU’

The Thane Crime Branch learned that Thakkar was employed by Kanani about three years ago, and Kanani quickly rose through the ranks, so Kanani began entrusting him with all of the operational details. “Kanani taught Thakkar all the cheating, and Thakkar began to charge his ‘share’ instead of his salary, resulting in a fallout. When Thakkar later started his own call center, he recruited a lot of people from Kanani’s company, ”the source told the Thane Crime Branch.

Deputy Police Commissioner Parag Manera said Kanani’s arrest is a huge boost to the case. “Kanani’s arrest will help provide many details about Thakkar and other defendants. Kanani seems to be the brain behind the execution of the scam, ”he said.

The police are also looking for Thakkar’s aides, Waseem Qureshi, who was the head recruiter at his call center, and Tapesh Gupta, whose brother Nawaz is in police custody.