Fake telecom exchange racket busted in Latur

Fake telecom exchange racket busted in Latur
In a major swoop, Indian security and intelligence agencies busted a fake telecommunication exchange at Latur in the Marathwada region of Maharashtra.

The exchange is suspected to have been used by ISI, the Pakistani spy agency, to acquire sensitive military information.

During the operation spread over Friday and Saturday, the Latur police, Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) of the Maharashtra Police and prosecution branch of the Department of Telecommunication (DoT) conducted a series of raids, and arrested two persons and seized equipment worth Rs 4.60 lakh. The raids and investigations followed after the military intelligence based in Jammu and Kashmir provided inputs for a well-planned operation.

A case was registered against the two arrested persons – aged 27 and 33 – at the Shivajinagar police station under Sections 4, 20 and 25 of the Indian Telegraph Act, Sections 3 and 6 of the Indian Wireless and Telegraph Act, besides Section 420 of the Indian Penal Code.

The two were running the illegal telephone exchange where international VoIP calls were routed through local mobile numbers. They used to convert a VoIP call from abroad into a voice illegally, and transferred that voice to a beneficiary and call receiver in India through an illegal international gateway.

Modus operandi

It is learnt that this type of illegal VoIP exchanges were used by the intelligence agency of the neighbouring country to acquire sensitive military information, ATS officials said in an obvious reference to Pakistan.

According to officials, the racket caused a loss of over Rs 15 crore to the exchequer. In the first raid at Prakashnagar, it was found that one of the suspects was running a fake telecommunication junction.  A total of 96 SIM cards, one computer and three machines for call transforming (illegal international gateways) were seized in this raid. This was being run for the past six months.

Later, one shop was raided in Valandi, nearly 70 km from the first location, and two illegal international gateways, 14 SIM cards and other miscellaneous electronic materials were seized.

In quick succession, a rented room of the second suspect was raided. Nearly 64 SIM cards, one laptop, two unauthorised international gateway machines and other materials were seized.

He has been running this illegal centre for the past five months, police said, adding that the suspect also worked as a SIM card distributor.  

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