The Central Crime Branch (CCB) of the Bengaluru Police has made a breakthrough in the illegal SIM box telephone exchange case by arresting another five persons.
The arrested persons were operating as many as nine telephone exchanges which were capable of handling 3,000 mobile SIM cards in one go, the police said.
Joint Commissioner of Police (crime), Sandeep Patil, said that the special team of Bengaluru CCB has seized 3,000 SIM cards, 109 SIM box devices, 23 laptops, 10 pen drives, 14 UPS and 17 routers from the arrested persons, who have been identified as Mohammed Bashir (51), Anis Attimannil (30), both from Kerala, and Santan Kumar (29), Suresh Tangavelu (32) and Jai Ganesh (30), all from Tamil Nadu.
The police said that they ran systematic illegal telephone exchanges in nine places around Suddagunteplaya, B.T.M. Layout and Madiwala, which are part of Bengaluru southern suburb and are few of the high-growth neighbourhoods of the city, as they are in the vicinity of the Electronic City, which is the IT hub of Bengaluru.
The police said that these five accused persons were arrested after a joint operation carried out by the Army intelligence and Bengaluru Police.
On June 8, the police had arrested Ibrahim Mullatti (36), who hails from Mallapur in Kerala, and Gowtham (27), a resident of Tirupur district Tamil Nadu, in connection with the case.
“The duo was running an illegal telephone exchange using the SIM box technology,” the police said.
According to the police, each SIM box device can be used to route international phone calls as local calls.
“Each SIM box is fitted with hundreds of GSM SIM cards. This technology allows the box’s operator to not only bypass international rates charged by the mobile network operators, but also poses a risk to national security.
“For example, if a call from neighbouring countries like Pakistan or Bangladesh is routed by using a SIM box, the number will appear as that of a caller from India. Therefore, it is a risk to national security as a single SIM box can be used to route thousands of dubious international calls each day,” the police said.
The police added that the five accused persons in connivance with Ibrahim and Gowtham ran these illegal telephone exchanges and among them, Santan Kumar used to provide of SIM cards to these exchanges.
“Santan Kumar worked as a sales executive in a mobile company. He supplied almost all the SIM cards through courier to Mohammed Bashir and Anis Attimannil,” the police said.