Two people were arrested and an “illegal telephone exchange” was busted during a multi-agency investigation in BTM layout area in Bengaluru. The accused were converting international phone calls into local calls compromising national security.
Sources said that acting on specific inputs a joint operation was carried out the military intelligence wing of the Southern Command of the Army and the Anti-Terror Cell of the Bengaluru Police, which led to the busting of the illegal telephone exchange that was aiding “anti-India outfits” by rerouting their phone calls so as to show them as local calls.
The military intelligence unit was alerted after the helpline numbers of several Army Units deployed across North Eastern States received phone calls enquiring about the location and deployment of the units, sources added.
“Soon after we started investigation this case, we came to know that these calls were routed through Bengaluru but there origin was from abroad”, the sources said adding that the involvement of “Anti National elements” in running illegal exchange cannot be ruled out.
“We are also investigating if the caller who wanted to know the locations of the army units was from the Pakistani intelligence agencies and also whether the exchange was used by the terror outfits based in Pakistan to contact their operatives inside India,” he said.
The sources said that during the investigations the agencies raided a location in the BTM layout area of Bengaluru and recovered 30 Subscribers Identity Module (SIM) boxes with 960 SIM cards installed in them.
“The accused had set up an illegal telephone exchange where they were converting international phone calls into local calls and also routing the international calls showing Indian numbers using the SIM Boxes”, the sources said, adding that the people who ran the illegal exchange not only defrauded the telecommunication department but also compromised the national security.
He said that during the course of investigations it was further revealed that the accused had installed the illegal telephone exchange at six locations across the Bengaluru BTM layout area.
He said that the two accused have been identified as Gautam Bin Viswanathan, (27) of Tamil Nadu and Ibrahim Mullatti Bin Mohammed Kutty 36, BTM of Mallapur in Kerala.
“In these boxes they used more than 900 mobile SIM cards, unauthorizedly converting International (ISD) phone calls into local calls, and conducting security and other unauthorized activities,” he said.
He said that the Anti-Terror Cell of the Police has registered a case with the Bangalore city cyber crime police station which has also started investigations into the case.
The police have taken up the investigation and more arrests are likely to take place in the coming days, he said.
SIM boxes can be fitted with 30 to 100 SIM cards which in turn can be used to bypass the international phone calls as local calls.
An international phone call routed through a SIM box would display a local number to the recipient of the call, thus posing a major threat to national security as the recipient would never know about the exact origin of the call.