The Central Crime Branch sleuths, with the help of the officials of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), busted a telephone exchange racket functioning in the city for several months. The expose came after the arrest of the kingpin of the racket in Chandigarh last week.
Those involved in the racket used to convert international calls into local calls with the help of a foreign company, Speedflow, assistant commissioner of police KN Jitendranath said on Monday.
The accused, working in a local exchange, used to avail of over 800 Vodafone SIM cards with unlimited plans. These cards were routed through Speedflow’s website, which converted international calls into local calls.
Since the calls bypassed BSNL routers, it resulted in losses running into crores of rupees to the company.
Such activity also poses a threat to the national security if anti-national elements get involved, Jitendranath said. The racketeers sold the SIM cards to people and company officials who made international calls at local call rates.
“We are investigating how the accused obtained 800 SIM cards and if the accused had links with the service providers,” he said.
The arrested were Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, Praveen, Rama Rao, and GN Saptadri. Police seized modems and other electronic gadgets worth Rs25 lakh from them.
Last week, the Chandigarh police arrested Mohinder Pal Saini, who operated a long-distant illegal telephone call exchange from Chandigarh to facilitate calls generating from his Bangalore exchange.
Saini, a Canadian national, revealed that the exchange was run with the help of two Hong Kong-based people identified as Shafeeq and Ajaib Singh Dhillon, who provided them the technical support. The hardware was supplied by Mahesh Gridhar, a resident of Chennai. Anand Mishra, a resident of Nepal, too gave them technical assistance, police said.
The money involved in the scam runs into several crores and the police are trying to trace the flow of money to various bank accounts.
The police have informed the ministry of external affairs about the arrests and sought details about such rackets operating in other parts which may be linked to the illegal exchange in Bangalore.