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Illegal telephone exchange unearthed in Lucknow, two arrested – Hindustan Times

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Police officials said the two accused were involved in issuing threat to different VVIPs through VoIP calls and causing national threat by operating illegal telephone exchange by converting international calls into local calls.

Cops said the two accused revealed during interrogation that they learnt this calling trick from some friends in Mumbai. (Pic for representation)

Cops said the two accused revealed during interrogation that they learnt this calling trick from some friends in Mumbai. (Pic for representation)
Published on Jul 17, 2022 12:36 AM IST

LUCKNOW: The UP Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) and department of telecommunications (DoT) on Saturday unearthed an illegal Internet calling racket after arrest of two people from a house in Lucknow’s Janakipuram colony under Vikas Nagar police station.

Police officials said the two accused were involved in issuing threat to different VVIPs through VoIP calls and causing national threat by operating illegal telephone exchange by converting international calls into local calls. The officials said the ATS sleuths seized equipment, including three VOIP multi-SIM gateways, 183 pre-activated SIM cards, three modem routers, a tablet, Internet port, a data connector power station cable and other peripheral devices used for operating the illegal telephone exchange.

In a press note shared by UP ATS, the officials stated the two accused were identified as Mohdamed Zabir, 32, and Abdul Shahnawaz, 30, both residents of Madeyganj, Lucknow. They said the two accused revealed during interrogation that they learnt this calling trick from some friends in Mumbai and had been operating this illegal exchange for the past few months.

A senior ATS official said the two accused used to divert international calls to SIM boxes and then to local mobile numbers to pose as if the calls were originating from a local number. “Through this method, the racketeers managed to call without using national gateway and subsequently without coming under the radar of national intelligence agencies. Such illegal telephone exchanges are being used by terror operatives, hawala (international illegal money transaction) network and other criminal groups,” he said.

The official said the duo used to collect money from other callers for routing their calls through the illegal exchange. “They later transferred the collected money to different accounts through Internet banking and e-wallet,” he added.

He said other national investigation agencies had been informed about the arrest and information extracted. He said the ATS was trying to get the police custody remand of the accused to further interrogate them about their suspected involvement in facilitating terror and criminal groups in making calls to different places in the country.

The modus-operandi

The calls generating from other countries are received on SIM boxes and these calls are converted into local calls with the help of modem routers before transferring them to local mobile numbers at different places in the country. Through this trick, the receivers’ mobiles display local numbers since the calls are routed through illegal telephone exchanges.

The racketeers also managed to skip the national gateway through which generally calls originating from other countries are routed to different locations in the country and subsequently do not get tracked in case of any crime or terror activities.

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