Four Chhota Rajan aides arrested in Odisha for running illegal ‘telephone-exchange’ | india-news | Hindustan Times
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Four Chhota Rajan aides arrested in Odisha for running illegal ‘telephone-exchange’

They allegedly routed international extortion calls through a device called SIM box to phones in India to conceal the identity of the callers by giving an impression that calls were made from local numbers.

india Updated: Jul 09, 2017 10:08 IST
Odisha police arrested four persons for  running an illegal “telephone-exchange” to camouflage extortion calls on behalf of gangster Chhota Rajan (in blue t-shirt) .
Odisha police arrested four persons for running an illegal “telephone-exchange” to camouflage extortion calls on behalf of gangster Chhota Rajan (in blue t-shirt) .(REUTERS/File Photo )

Odisha police arrested four persons from two different southern towns of the state on Saturday for running an illegal “telephone-exchange” on behalf of incarcerated gangster Chhota Rajan.

The four were allegedly involved in routing international extortion calls through a device called SIM box to phones in India at the behest of a Rajan associate to conceal the identity of the callers by giving an impression that calls were made from local numbers.

It falls under cyber crime and a first-of-its-kind offense busted in the state, police said.

Chhota Rajan, aka Rajendra Sadashiv Nikhalje is currently serving a seven-year jail term in a fake passport case.

Rajan is accused in over 85 cases, ranging from murder to extortion, smuggling and drug trafficking, lodged with police in Maharashtra, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and the CBI.

The gangster was deported to India by Indonesia in November 2015 after being on the run for almost three decades.

The police got a whiff of the Odisha gang when Suresh Pujari, a Hong Kong-based associate of Rajan, recently demanded Rs 2 crore from a Mumbai-based real estate businessman over phone.

“While tracing the call the Mumbai crime branch found the calls originated from Berhampur. Subsequently, they contacted us after which we arrested three persons from Berhampur and one from Chhatrapur town,” said Berhampur additional SP Trinath Patel.

The accused Laxminarayan Sharoff (31), Pradeep Kumar Choudhury(27), Suresh Kumar Satpathy and Santosh Kumar Satpathy ran the illegal telephone exchange from a shop named S. World in Berhampur town.

The police seized 5 SIM boxes, several fake SIMs, fake ID proofs from them. They have been booked under sections 420, 467, 486, 471, 34 of IPC and section 66 (b) and 66 (c) of Information Technology Act, 2000.

These Chinese-made SIM boxes with the capacity to accommodate 32 to 64 SIMs were bought from two companies - G B Ventures (Delhi) and Mega Voice (Ahmedabad).

The Berhampur operators were getting the share of extorted money from those two farms, said the additional SP.

“The SIM box acted as a mini telephone exchange, which is illegal as per Telecom Regulatory Authority of India. It’s difficult to trace such calls as the device camouflages the caller’s identity. We have never come across such cases of cybercrime in the state,” said Patel.