Illegal telephone exchanges were used to bypass international gateways and camouflage the origin of extortion calls made to Bangalore businessmen allegedly by underworld elements operating from bases abroad, police investigations reveal. Such calls delivered through a local number and are difficult to trace, police sources said.
In the last four years, 25 calls have been made to businessmen in Bangalore routing voice over internet protocol (VOIP) calls to GSM phones via illegal exchanges created by private entities in India.
Last week, Bangalore police arrested two persons — S Niranjan of Koramangala and S Dani of Tamil Nadu — for routing calls from underworld operative Ravi Pujari to businessman Santosh Acharya in Bangalore through an illegal exchange set up using imported Chinese devices.
The arrested duo may not have been part of the Pujari gang, police in Bangalore said.
The two said they are not directly associated with Pujari and had come in contact with a foreign source through internet and were paid Rs 20,000 per week to run the exchange.
Calls were free and service providers like VSNL suffered financial losses due to bypassing of international gateways, police sources said. Tata Docomo SIM cards under unlimited plan were fraudulently used, they said.
Niranjan, a Tata Docomo marketing executive in Kormangala, allegedly provided 64 SIM cards and activated them. Dani looked after illegal exchange and operated the Dinstar system. He has a diploma in computer applications, police sources said.
“We are not sure whether these two are in touch with Pujari or not. Maybe they are. We are not ruling it out,” DCP Crime Abhishek Goyal said.