Two persons have been arrested by the Central Crime Branch police for their alleged involvement in helping underworld operative Rave Pujari route extortion phone calls made through the internet to the GSM mobile phone of a local businessman in what is being called a “telephone calls bypass fraud”.
The accused persons have been identified as S Niranjan, of Koramangala, a marketing executive for Tata Teleservices, and S Dani of Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu.
Police said the duo were arrested during investigation into a case registered against Rave Pujari for threatening a businessman and demanding Rs 20 lakh to prevent the kidnapping of his son. Businessman Santosh Kumar Acharya had filed a complaint with the Koramangala police regarding the matter and the case had been handed over to the CCB police for further investigation.
The CCB, in course of their investigation, found that the VOIP calls made to Santosh Acharya was routed through Tata Docomo mobile numbers. Detailed investigations revealed the existence of a virtual telephone exchange involved in bypassing international long distance gateways.
The accused were using GSM SIM cards to make Internet phone calls by using VoiP GSM gateway switch, modem and router. This helped hide the details of the origin of the caller and has been used by underworld elements to run their businesses and extort money from businessmen, police said.
The police are now investigating whether the two arrested persons were in direct touch with Rave Pujari or not. “The case is still under investigation. We are not sure whether they are in touch with Pujari or not. Further investigations will reveal whether they were in contact with anti-social or anti-national elements,” joint commissioner of police (crime) Hemanth Nimbalkar said.
The CCB police seized two units of DINSTAR, a Chinese company made VOIP to GSM Gateway switch (smuggled from abroad), routers, modems, antennas, laptops and 60 Tata Docomo GSM SIM cards from the accused.
Two more persons identified as Harish and Naveen are absconding and efforts are on to nab them, police said. Police suspect that many more such virtual exchanges are in operation in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala states.
“This is a very serious economic fraud that has serious implications on national security as well. In India, termination of VOIP calls on the GSM network is prohibited. Through this system, which has been illegally imported from abroad, VOIP calls are converted and introduced into the GSM network.
The system completely bypasses international interconnect gateways, causes losses to telecom operators and makes it impossible to track the original callers. This is why anti-national and underworld elements are misusing these gateways,’’ the CCB police said in an official note.