Two arrested for running illegal telephone exchanges in Bengaluru
Bengaluru: In a joint operation, the Military Intelligence (MI) unit of the Indian army’s southern command and Anti-Terrorist Cell (ATC) of the Central Crime Branch (CCB) have arrested two persons who were allegedly operating six illegal telephone exchanges in Bengaluru. The arrests were made on June 7 by the CCB based on the inputs from the military intelligence.
According to police, the accused have been identified as 36-year-old Ibrahim Pullatti, a native of Malappuram in Kerala, and 27-year-old V Gautam, who is from Tirupur, Tamil Nadu. Both men were running their operations out of a rented house in BTM Layout in southeast Bengaluru, police said. A CCB official said they have seized more than 900 SIM cards from the two accused apart from a SIM box device, which could operate 32 SIM cards simultaneously.
Explaining their modus operandi, joint commissioner of police, CCB, Sandeep Patil said, “They were converting international calls into local calls bypassing authorised routers. This not only caused a loss to telecom companies, but it was also a threat to the national security.”
They had six SIM boxes, which they had installed at six locations in BTM Layout. Based on the inputs from the MI, all six places were raided, and equipments seized, a senior CCB official said.
“They had their own set of customers, including small firms and individuals, who have to make international calls daily as part of their business. The accused charged ₹1 per pulse rate against ₹10 as charged in the legal channel. They used to make anywhere between ₹10-15 lakh a month by running this illegal business,” said a CCB investigator.
Talking about the army’s involvement in the operation, an officer in the know of the development said the matter was flagged initially by the eastern command of the army. The information was passed on to the southern command, to investigate whether there was an attempt to target the Indian army’s telephone exchanges since the IP addresses were tracked to Bengaluru. During the investigation, the locations in BTM layout were tracked, the officer added.
Police said based on their investigation, they were also probing money laundering charges against Pullatii.