Five ab­scon­ders hold the key to money trail

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - De­ba­sish Pan­i­grahi de­ba­sish.pan­i­grahi@hin­dus­tan­ Sau­rabh Katkur­war sau­rabh.katkur­war@hin­dus­tan­

Five pro­mot­ers of bogus call cen­tres at Mira Road, who are ab­scond­ing, hold the key to es­tab­lish­ing the money trail in the multi-mil­lion-dol­lar scam that the Thane po­lice are in­ves­ti­gat­ing.

On Wed­nes­day, the po­lice filed a case against more than 750 em­ploy­ees of nine call cen­ters for al­legedly black­mail­ing US cit­i­zens by im­per­son­at­ing In­ter­nal Revenue Ser­vice (IRS) of­fi­cials.

A top of­fi­cial in the Thane po­lice crime branch said the pro­mot­ers were known to the staff only by their aliases (the po­lice have a full name for only one of them) and only oc­ca­sion­ally vis­ited their of­fices at Delta build­ing, off the West­ern Ex­press High­way. “They have been iden­ti­fied as Ali, Jimmy, Akhil Singh, Tapesh and Saggy. Their names came up dur­ing the pre­lim­i­nary in­ter­ro­ga­tion of the ar­rested ac­cused, most of whom are em­ploy­ees of their call cen­tres,” said the of­fi­cer.

The city’s de­vel­op­ment author­ity is set to take a page out of Lon­don’s transport sys­tem to make travel be­tween Mum­bai and its sur­round­ing ar­eas much smoother.

The Mum­bai Metropoli­tan Re­gion De­vel­op­ment Author­ity (MMRDA) has ap­pointed Transport For Lon­don (TFL) to pre­pare a de­tailed plan for an in­te­grated tick­et­ing sys­tem (ITS) in the Mum­bai Metropoli­tan Re­gion (MMR). TFL is a wing of the Greater Lon­don Author­ity. It is cred­ited with the launch of the Oys­ter card, which works across the un­der­ground, over­ground rail net­works, public buses and river transport in Lon­don.

The MMRDA has de­cided to ex­e­cute its own ITS plans, sim­ply called smart card, af­ter the Min­istry of Ur­ban De­vel­op­ment (MoUD) put its na­tional smart card plan, un­der the Na­tional Ur­ban Transport Pol­icy, on hold.

The smart card will help com­muters skip long queues at ticket coun­ters and travel any­where in Mum­bai, Navi Mum­bai, Thane and Pal­ghar, with­out us­ing cash.

TFL is sup­posed to sub­mit its re­port to the MMRDA in three months’ time. “Once the re­port is sub­mit­ted,wewil­l­invite­tender­s­for ex­e­cu­tion of the sys­tem. Ac­cord­ing to our es­ti­ma­tion, the smart card sys­tem will be oper­a­tional in 18 months’ time,” Khan­dare said. MMRDA ad­di­tional com­mis­sioner San­jay Khan­dare said TFL will study all as­pects of the transport pat­tern in the re­gion to come up with a work­able and fea­si­ble plan.

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