Illegal international telephone exchange busted in Noida, three nabbed
Noida: Three people were arrested on Wednesday for allegedly running an unauthorised international telephone exchange in Sector 62. Police said that the illegal operation was causing revenue losses to the department of telecommunications and posing a threat to national security.
The suspects were identified as Owais Alam, a resident of Moradabad and Pushpendra Kumar and Pawan Kumar, residents of Ghaziabad. According to police, Alam had purchased an office space for ₹50 lakh in a business park in Sector 62 in December last year. In addition, he also purchased licences for 12 PRI (primary rate interface) lines, which is used for internet voice calls, from a private company, police said.
“An abnormality was discovered by the company when it was found that instead of receiving or making the calls, the lines were being used to transfer them. A complaint was made with us. Then a probe in the matter was initiated, following which a raid was conducted today and the three suspects were apprehended,” said Kumar Ranvijay Singh, additional deputy commissioner of police, zone 1.
Police officials said that the suspects were routing the calls through the lines to their own server. Police also recovered a car, several laptops, desktops, technical gadgets, and several SIM cards, among others, from the suspects.
“The revenue which would have gone to the telecom companies was instead going to the suspects creating losses for the telecom department. And the caller identities were not showing in the call detail records, which was a threat to national security. We have alerted the agencies concerned as well about the matter,” said Singh.
Most of these calls were being generated from the Middle East, said police.
Police officials said that the operation mastermind is a Mumbai-based man who had designed the proxy server. He had prior experience in web development projects. He has an M.Sc in IT and a work experience with calling software at a US-based MNC, the officials said, adding that the man is yet to be arrested.
According to police, in 2017, Alam started an exchange from Sector 63 before moving to Sector 62. He was also running another such exchange from his house in Moradabad where a raid was conducted as well, said police, adding that at least three more named suspects are wanted in the case.
Police are also working to trace the foreign IP address to see if an illegal exchange had also been set up on the other end. They have identified five bank accounts of the suspects to trace money. Alam owned property worth ₹1 crore in Noida which is also being looked at, said police.
The suspects were booked at Sector 58 police station under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Indian Telegraph Act, police said.