Kerala police have busted a racket that was running 14 parallel telephone exchanges in various parts of Ernakulam district. Three persons were arrested and equipment were seized. Meanwhile, Intelligence Agencies have confirmed the links of Pakistan’s ISI with such parallel telephone exchange operatives.
The arrested persons have been identified as Hakim (34), Irshad (23) and Nithin. The police recovered 14 SIM boxes, 11 routers, more than 100 SIM cards and 50 cables from them. Each SIM box acts like a telephone exchange.
Koratty Station House Officer (SHO) B K Arun told media, “This is a serious offence. We suspect these people were helping hawala operators and gold smugglers communicate with their aides in Kerala by evading the network of telecom companies.
“This gang might have links with another group that was caught running a similar parallel telephone exchange racket in Kozhikode last month. We have to identify the people who were being helped by the gang. Such a route is used to establish communications for illegal activities,” he said.
“International internet calls are diverted as local calls using call routers and broadband connection. This way, the receiver will get a call from a local number instead of the international number. This is a cheaper method and, most importantly, telecom companies will be in dark about such internet calls. Such a communication route can be adopted for anti-national activities. Each SIM box can operate multiple SIM cards at a time,” the official added.
The police suspect the presence of more people in the racket. “In the incident detected in Kozhikode, it was revealed that the gang was making money by issuing virtual coupons to NRIs to make international internet calls. In this case, we have to question the accused thoroughly to get more details,” another official said.