The Special Cell of the Delhi Police has busted an international cybercrime syndicate in a collaborative operation involving the FBI and Interpol, said officials on Sunday.
Four members of the gang, including the kingpin, were arrested for allegedly defrauding the US nationals to the tune of 20 million dollars.
H.G.S. Dhaliwal, Special Commissioner Police (Delhi Police Special Cell), said the information was received at IFSO, Special Cell through secret informers and also from the FBI through Interpol, indicating that some international cybercriminals, in conspiracy with each other and with the aid and assistance of co-conspirators based in India, the US and Uganda, were running call centers by posing as employees of the US Internal Revenue Service, Social Security Administration, Drug Enforcement Administration, and other US agencies.
“We received information that one accused, Parth Armarkar, impersonated a specific living person by the name of Uttam Dhillon. During his career, the real Uttam Dhillon served as the Acting Administrator of the US Drug Enforcement Administration and as the Director of INTERPOL Washington. Armarkar defrauded victims of millions of USD through call centers operating in Uganda, Africa. He is an Indian national and occasionally visits India,” Dhaliwal said.
The official said that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Delhi Police shared technical evidence and information on Armarkar, which led Delhi Police to identify his whereabouts in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, from where he was running a part of the criminal activities.
Armarkar was primarily operating his criminal activities out of Uganda. However, he also ran some part of his activities from different jurisdictions of India in assistance with his international co-conspirators. The police lodged an FIR under sections 419, 420, 384, 120B, 34 IPC read with 66C, 66D of the IT Act.
The official said that, keeping in view the gravity of the offences, several teams of IFSO and Counter Intelligence/Special Cell were formed to gather information, and Armarkar was arrested in Ahmedabad.
“Later, his crime boss Vatsal Mehta, who was on the run, was also arrested along with Deepak Arora and Prashant Kumar. As part of the coordinated action, the FBI has interviewed over 50 victims so far and collected evidence of fraud amounting to more than 20 million USD, which will be produced in court as per procedure. Two victims from the US have also been examined through video calling by IFSO (Intelligence Fusion & Strategic Operations),” said the official.
“In December 2022, the FBI Office of the Legal Attache, New Delhi, and the Delhi Police collaborated to arrest the four accused individuals as part of an international operation resulting in simultaneous arrests and searches of call center fraud subjects in the US, Canada, and India. After the arrests in Delhi, the concerned Chief Metropolitan Magistrate ordered the return of the cheated amount to all those victims who had lodged their complaints with the FBI and Delhi Police.
“Prior to this, we were able to catch white-collar criminals who had duped a large number of American nationals. And with such collaboration, we were able to bring back Deepak Boxer from Mexico,” Dhaliwal said.
All the accused were produced before a court and remanded to five days of custodial remand of the Special Cell.
Further details were awaited.