Illegal telephone exchange run by Keralite from Bahrain busted in Gujarat

Representational image: FOTOKITA/Shutterstock

Ahmedabad: The Gujarat Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) has busted an illegal Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephone exchange here and arrested a man with 139 SIM cards, an official said on Wednesday.

"Based on a tip-off, an ATS team raided a flat in Sakib Apartment in Juhapura area of the city on Tuesday and apprehended Shahid Saiyad, who was running the illegal call centre using four SIM boxes, a LAN switch," a laptop and a router, said Pinakin Parmar, Superintendent of Police, Gujarat ATS.

A SIM box is a device that can hold multiple SIM cards and is used as part of a VoIP gateway installation.

Preliminary investigation has revealed that the call centre was set up by Najib P P, a native of Kerala, with the help of his aides Amit, a resident of Pune and one Sohail, who hails from Goa, the official said.

"Najib was running the call centre remotely from Bahrain. Since video calls using applications such as WhatsApp are banned in Gulf countries, Indians living there have to pay as per ISD rates to make international calls here. Najib and his men make money by selling calling cards and sending commissions to Shahid, Amit and Sohail here," Parmar said.

The police have recovered 139 SIM cards installed in the SIM Boxes to generate the VoIP calls, he said.

As directed by Najib and Sohail, the arrested accused started this VoIP-based call centre in the Juhapura area around a year ago, he said.

"This call centre was used for converting incoming international calls into normal voice calls using VoIP technology. This is illegal and against the rules set by the Department of Telecommunication. This activity also results in loss of income to the government," Parmar said.

While Saiyad has been arrested on the charges of cheating and criminal conspiracy among other sections, the three other accused are absconding, he said.

On learning that Najib was also operating another call centre in the Mira Road area of Mumbai, a joint team of ATS and Mumbai police raided a flat in ND Plaza No.3 on Tuesday and nabbed one Sajjad Saiyad with 115 SIM cards and other equipment.

Further investigation in that case is being done by the Mumbai police, the official added.

The comments posted here/below/in the given space are not on behalf of Onmanorama. The person posting the comment will be in sole ownership of its responsibility. According to the central government's IT rules, obscene or offensive statement made against a person, religion, community or nation is a punishable offense, and legal action would be taken against people who indulge in such activities.