The Gujarat Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) in a joint operation with the Mumbai police have busted a network that illegally routed international calls through Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) in Ahmedabad and Mumbai, and arrested one person each from both the places. Three other accused from Bahrain and Maharashtra are yet to be nabbed.

“Based on a tip-off, the Gujarat ATS on Tuesday busted an illegal VoIP exchange in Saqib apartment in Juhapura locality of Ahmedabad and arrested one Shaheed Liyaqat Ali Syed, originally a resident of Mangrol of Junagadh,” said Pinakin Parmar, Superintendent of Police (SP), Gujarat ATS.

According to the ATS, Syed was running an illegal international call centre through the VoIP. The police found one laptop, four SIM boxes having gateways of 32 ports, a WiFi router and a Lan switch all connected and functioning. “Besides that, the team found 139 SIM cards from other states, which were used to facilitate ISD calls converted to VoIP calls. Through a person named Najeeb in Bahrain, the prospective clients in the Gulf countries were offered ISD calls to their relatives in India through this centre at a fraction of ISD charges, thereby accruing revenue losses to our country,” added Parmar.

“Efforts are underway to nab one Amit from Pune in Maharashtra, who we believe is the supplier of these SIM cards. On inquiring from Shaheed, we found that he was working with one Sajjad Ahmed Syed residing in ND Plaza on Meera Road in Mumbai who was running an illegal VoIP network. With the help of Mumbai police, Sajjad has also been nabbed and a case registered against him at the Nayanagar police station,” added Parmar.

The ATS is also in search of two other persons, Najeeb in Bahrain and Sohail in Goa, believed to be linked to this illegal activity.

“Calls made through VoIP exchange leave no trace of the original international number from where the call originated. Running such an exchange is illegal under the Indian Telegraph Act, and causes revenue loss and creates a security threat to the nation,” Parmar said while briefing the press.

A case has been registered with the ATS police station against Syed under IPC clauses 420 and 120 (B). Besides that charges have also been registered under clause 65 of the IT Act, 2000, clause 20 of the Indian Telegraph Act 1885 and clause 6 of the Indian Wireless Telegraph Act, 1931.

“Our technical team is in the process of availing and assessing the details of all the call records found on the SIM cards to estimate the revenue loss incurred to the country through this illegal activity. We are also looking at the security threat that might have been posed through this network,” added Parmar.

–IANS

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