Illegal VoIP telephone exchange busted, Mumbai police arrests Keralite

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Names of some more suspects, including a Chinese national, came up during the arrested man's interrogation, a police official said here.

Mumbai: The Mumbai Police's Crime Branch on Friday claimed to have busted an illegal Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephone exchange which facilitated international calls with the arrest of a 34-year-old man from Kerala.

'Hilar Thacharail Mohammed Kutty, resident of Palakkad in Kerala who runs a software business, was arrested from Changaramkulam in Malappuram district on Thursday,' the Crime Branch official added.

Names of some more suspects, including a Chinese national, came up during the arrested man's interrogation, a police official said here.

A SIMBOX enables calls to be routed through Internet, cutting cellular service providers out of the loop, he said. The investigators seized eight such SIMBOX units, procured from China.

Several phone calls received by the Defence department had received several suspicious phone calls in September 2019. The callers sought information regarding strategic defence centres but the source of the calls were dubious.

Following this, military intelligence and Mumbai police held investigations which revealed illegal VoIP telephone exchanges in Kerala and Noida in Uttar Pradesh. The arrest came after teams of the Crime Branch and Military Intelligence conducted raids in the locations, official said.

'A special team of Crime Branch officials conducted raids and seized eight SIMBOX units and more than 600 SIM cards,' he said.

Mohammed Kutty had worked in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), where he met members of a similar racket, and after returning to India, he started his own illegal telephone exchange, the official said.

'During his interrogation names of his aides have come to light. We are verifying the information,' he said.

The gang was involved in these activities since 2017 and cheated telecom service providers such as Idea, Vodafone and Airtel and the Government of India out of crores of rupees in revenue, he said.

The investigators suspect that another illegal telephone exchange was being operated from some other place, the official added.

(With inputs from PTI)

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