HYDERABAD: The Hyderabad police busted a five-member international call racket gang. The case cracked by the police on Saturday comes within weeks after an international call racket was busted in Madhya Pradesh for allegedly aiding Pakistani ISI agents to spy on India’s military operations.
The gang used Voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) routeing the calls through Internet. The main accused Gulam Khwaja Khan was earlier booked in 2014 for the same offence. The 34-year-old accused, procured SIM cards through sales representatives, amassing a total of 853 SIM cards of various telecom service providers. He had also spent Rs 1,50,000 to buy software and devices needed to route calls.
He had in September 2016 set up an office at Maisram Lane, Barkas, Chandrayangutta to carry out his operations. While Gulam set up the infrastructure needed to pull off the illegal International call routeing centre, the co-accused used their positions working with various telecom regulators to obtain aadhar documents and fabricate IDs needed to get SIM cards.
They were able to generate Rs 90,000 to Rs 1,20,000 per month through these calls. Their actions were in violation of the Indian Telegraph Act of 1885 among others. Police said that their actions posed a serious threat to India’s national security.
The accused through their actions are also suspected to have evaded taxes and have cost telecom companies huge losses. The syndicate also closed CDMA mobile phone SIM cards that led to customers getting billed for the international calls. They had also closed debit and credit cards to pay the bills for the SIM cards obtained through fraudulent means.
According to the investigators, the Internet bandwidth is misused for receiving incoming International VoIP (Voice over internet Protocol) calls. These calls terminate with PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) i.e. normal telephone network using mobile telephones and VoIP Gateways. Through Internet, illegal incoming international VoIP calls were pumped into India from foreign countries using VoIP technology.
The VoIP gateway converts VoIP calls, which were in the data form, into voice form and also retrieves the number dialled by the caller at the other end in a foreign country and dials that destination’s number using one of the available telephones connected to the VoIP gateway. The CLI (Calling Line Identification) on the receiver’s phone displays one of these telephone phone numbers whereas the caller (or call) is from outside the India.
In other words, the accused terminate the incoming international VoIP calls into PSTN mode by using Indian local telephone numbers which are not permitted by Department of Telecommunications, Government of India. With this setup, the gang had established an illegal exchange which interfaces Internet generated VoIP calls to PSTN network.