Thane call centre scam hit UK, Australia too; US officials set to visit Drop in Mumbai’s infant death rate in 2015, but more new mothers are dying
The Thane call centre scam, in which thousands of US citizens were duped of an estimated Rs500 crore by callers pretending to be tax officials, is believed to be much wider in scope than initially thought. The police have learnt that the scammers targetted gullible taxpayers not only in the US but in the UK and Australia as well, by working round the clock in shifts.
They also suspect more call centres could be involved in the racket. Thane police commissioner Paramveer Singh hinted at more arrests, saying, “The syndicate is much wider than what we thought earlier.”
A Thane crime branch official said calls to Australia began at 7am every day, while those to the UK began at 11.30 am. Those calling Australia would pose as officials from the Australian Taxation Office, while those telephoning UK citizens would pretend to be from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs.
Authorities in the US have told the Thane police that officials from the US Federal Bureau of Investigation and Internal Revenue Service will visit India soon. Singh said, “We will cooperate and extend all possible help to the US agencies.”
Annual infant deaths in Mumbai dropped to 4,575 in 2015 from 4,883 in the previous year, according to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) environmental status report 20152016 Times. With the decline in the number of children dying during their infancy — up to the age of one — the city’s Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) — calculated per 1,000 live births — fell from 28.05 in 2015 to 26.16 in 2016. The Niti Aayog had estimated India’s IMR to be 40 in 2013.
Public health officials attributed the improvement in IMR in Mumbai to better medical services provided at tertiary medical care centres.
At the same time, maternal deaths have increased from 299 in 2014 to 313 in 2015. The Maternal Mortality Rate increased from 1.59 per 1,000 in 2013 to 1.72 in 2014 and 1.79 in 2015.