New Delhi: Mumbai Police on Thursday in a joint operation with Military Intelligence J&K busted illegal VOIP exchanges and SIM boxes.
Army sources said two functional sim boxes were recovered with 100 slots each and approx 200 SIM cards, along with 2 routers, 3 modems, antennas, batteries and connectors, from Noida, Uttar Pradesh and Changaramukulam, Kerala. Primary information about the drive is being obtained, sources said.
During the raid, one accused was arrested from Changermakulam, Kerala.
In September 2019, defence persons received calls from suspicious numbers, seeking information related to important defence installations. The callers posed fictitious identity and the involvement of ISI was suspected. Further investigation by Military intelligence and Mumbai Police revealed few illegal VoIP exchanges at Noida and Kerala, which route calls incoming from Pakistan to local numbers, which were then used to extract information from defence persons. Based on this Mumbai Police carried out joint operation with Military intelligence.
The exchanges which converted international voice calls originating from Pakistan into local GSM calls using the Chinese SIM Boxes (boxes fitted with GSM SIM cards of local cellular service providers) have been busted in a Police raid on February 6. These SIM boxes also used dynamic IMEI system, which made them difficult to be tracked. This system is declared illegal by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India.
Since Indian systems cannot control the calls generated in such systems, they are also used for anti-national activity. Therefore, the Department of Telecommunications is not permitted to transmit international VoIP calls through the normal telephone network. The SIMBOX methodology is a financial fraud to the Government of India as well as to mobile companies.
Investigations so far have revealed that the busted exchanges caused revenue losses in crores to the country’s telecom department. Subsequent probe had then revealed that those exchanges were being used by hostile intelligence agencies to seek military information through calls and posed security threat to nation.
After the preliminary inquiry and the confirmation of the usage of unauthorised SIMBOX (SIMBOX), the Dongri PS. Thane registered the crime under Section 419, 420, 465, 468, 471, 120 (b) of IPC with the clause 1 of Indian Telegraph Act 1885, Sections 4, 20, 25, with Section 3, 6 Indian Wireless Telegraphy Act 1933, and forwarded the investigation to the crime branch.
Few arrests have been made in Kerala and probe is underway to ascertain identity of more individuals who are involved and locations of other similar exchanges. More arrests are likely to be made in this connection in the near future, as they might also be linked to compromising India’s internal security, army sources said.