Latur/Mumbai, June 17 (IANS) In a major operation with national security implications, the Maharashtra ATS and Police, along with the Department of Telecommunication, have busted two illegal telephone exchanges that are suspected to have been used by Pakistani agencies for spying in India, an official said here on Saturday.
Two persons have been arrested in the operation which was carried out at two locations in the state’s Latur district on Friday following an alert from Indian Army military intelligene in Jammu & Kashmir, an ATS official said.
The sleuths have recovered 174 SIM cards, seven illegal machines used as international gateways, two computers and other electronic materials totally worth around Rs 460,000.
According to the ATS, the acused were running these illegal telephone exchanges whereby international VOIP calls were routed through local mobile numbers.
They used to convert a VOIP call from abroad into a voice illegally and transferring that voice to the local beneficiary or call receiver in India through the illegal international gateway.
“It is learnt that this type of illegal VOIP exchanges were used by intelligence agency of the neighbouring country to acquire sensitive military information,” the ATS said.
The DOT has estimated its total losses from these illegal call centres to be around Rs 15 crore.
In the first case, the teams raided the home in Latur’s Prakashnagar to unearth a fake telecommunication junction being run since six months and arrested its owner.
They seized 96 SIM cards, one computer, a CPU and three machines for call transforming or illegal international gateways, costing around Rs 190,000.
Following interrogation of the accused, the teams swooped on a shop in Valandi village, around 70 km away, and recovered 14 SIM cards, and other electronic material worth around Rs 120,000.
This was followed by a raid on a rented premises in Chakur, around 50 km from Latur, where they found the fake telephone exchange running since five months, 64 SIM cards, a laptop and two illegal international gateway machines, plus other materials worth around Rs 150,000. The tenant of the premises was arrested.
Police have booked cases at the MIDC and Shivajinagar police stations under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, Indian Telegraph Act, Indian Wireless & Telegraph Act, against the two accused.