Illegal telephone exchanges routing calls via a computer network and allegedly used by Pakistani intelligence agencies to access sensitive military information have been busted in Maharashtra’s Latur district, the police said today. Two persons, Shankar Biradar (33) and Ravi Sabde (27), have been arrested in this connection. They were making use of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), a technology that allows a person to make voice calls using an Internet connection instead of a regular phone line. The telephone exchanges were busted yesterday during raids conducted by a joint team of the Maharashtra ATS, Latur police and telecommunication department at three places in the district on a tip-off from a Jammu and Kashmir-based military intelligence agency, a police official said.
According to police sources, these type of illegal VoIP exchanges were used by Pakistan intelligence agencies to acquire sensitive military information.
These exchanges were operating for the last six months from Prakash Nagar, Deoni taluka and Chakur taluka areas in the district, the official said. The accused used to receive an overseas call over the Internet and transfer that voice call to receivers in India through an illegal international gateway. The system interconnected Internet/VoIP and mobile connections which is not permitted as per India’s telecom laws.
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After the raids, equipment worth Rs 4,60,000 were seized, the official said. Most of the seizures were made on the premises of the two arrested accused, the police said. While Shankar ran an illegal telecommunication junction from his house in Prakash Nagar, Ravi operated from a rented room in Chakur taluka. About 96 sim cards, a computer, a CPU and three call transforming machines were seized from Shankar’s residence after the raid. The Deoni taluka exchange was being run from a shop, the police said.
As per Telecommunication Department officials, these illegal exchanges have caused a revenue loss of Rs 15 crore to the country. Offences have been registered at Shivaji Nagar and MIDC police station in the district under relevant sections of the Indian Telegraph Act, Indian Wirless and Telegraph Act and Indian Penal Code.