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

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - HT Cor­re­spon­dents ht­metro@hin­dus­tan­times.com Sadaguru Pan­dit sadaguru.pan­dit@hin­dus­tan­times.com

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.

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