Hyderabad: When the Hyderabad cyber crime police went to an office at 4 Ho Chi Minh Sarani in Kolkata as part of an investigation, what they found surprised them. It appeared to be a normal call centre
There were about 20 women telecallers working the phones at Saha Enterprises (Ocellam JT Services Pvt.Ltd). They were offering subscriptions to an online dating service ostensibly authorised by a so-called All India Dating Regulating Board.
Only, it was a scam and the staffers apparently did not know that.
The three main accused behind the crime are Soma Roka, 26, manager, Arnabsur, 26, and Md. Imran, 23, all residents of Kolkata. They earned Rs 40 lakh to Rs 50 lakh a month from their crooked enterprise.
Most of the telecallers hired by the trio were intermediate and degree graduates working for Rs 6,000 to Rs 8,000 per month. In the first phase, the telecaller would tell the target that she was calling from ‘Love Arts’ and would offer a dating service, claiming it was legal and approved by the ‘All India Dating Regulating Board (sic)’.
Those who chose to sign up were charged Rs 1,025. The money was collected online.
The accused used to set targets for the telecallers and offer incentives for those who met the targets. “The target was in the range of Rs 2 lakh to 3 lakh per month for each telecaller. There was huge pressure on them to meet the target,” inspector Gangad-har of the cyber crime unit told this newspaper.
In the second phase, targets received calls from another person asking for details like his photograph and address particulars for membership for which he would be charged Rs 18,000, which the telecaller would says is refundable. When the victim deposited the money, a ‘licence’ was issued through which he could have access to online dating.
Later, the victim would get a call saying that the police had got to know about his membership and he would have to deposit Rs 75,000 to Rs 1 lakh to avoid legal complications. Fearing exposure, the victims would deposit the money as directed.
In this way, thousands of men throughout the country were fooled and threatened and crores of rupees siphoned off in the one-and-a-half years the scam has been in operation.
After a month-long investigation the cyber crime team was able to crack the case after tracing the phone number of the telecaller which led them to the office of Saha Enterprises in Kolkata.
Police arrested the three accused and produced them in a local court in Kolkata where they were reportedly granted conditional bail, and the premises of the call centre sealed. Notices under CrPC 41(A) were issued to the telecallers to appear before the police.