Free Press Journal

Bogus telephone exchange busted in Thane, five held


Mumbai: A bogus telephone exchange centre was busted in the early hours of Wednesday in Bivandi, Thane. Bhivandi crime branch unit 2 of Thane police commissionerate and officials of department of telecommunicationjointly raided the centre in Bhivandi city.

Police arrested five accused, two of whom are former employees of mobile phone service providers and recovered cash, SIM card boxes, laptops and routers worth Rs.17,54,000.

Senior investigator of Bhivandi crime branch sheetal Raut acting on a tip off on the bogus exchange, set up teams along with the telecommunication department and conducted a raid on the residence of an accused in Bhivandi. Later, four different offices from where the accused operate were are also raided. During these raids, the teams seized 18 SIM card boxes that containing 420 Reliance and Tata Docomo SIM cards.

The modes operand of these bogus exchange is to route international VoIP (voice over internet protocol) calls on Indian numbers with the help of SIM card boxes that were connected to the internet.

With this technology, the exchange was using international calls with Indian SIM cards to make calls in India. The numbers displayed in India were Indian numbers though the calls were international. These numbers cannot be traced by any of the security agencies and also the calls are not registered on DoT (department of telecommunication) devices. Hence, the department had to bear a loss of around Rs 30 crores, department sources said.

“It is possible that the illegal calls made through this bogus exchange were part of a bigger scam and we are investigating into it. This is the biggest recovery till date in such an operation,” said Thane Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh, addressing a press conference here.

Among the five arrested, two are ex-employees of Reliance and Cocomo company, he said.

The seized items included nine routers,420 sim cards (Reliance and Tata Docomo), two laptops, one HP and one Lenovo notepads, five samsung mobiles, Rs 15,000 in cash, connecting cable and electronic devices.

A complaint has been registered in Bhoivada police station under IPC section 420, Indian Telegraph Act 4 (20 and 25) and Indian Wireless Telegraph Act 3 and 6. Assistant Police Inspector Prakash Patil of the crime branch is further investigating the matter.