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CBI unearths international call racket; arrests five

CBI arrested five persons,including an NRI,for allegedly causing loss of crores of rupees to BSNL.

Written by Agencies | New Delhi | Published: June 28, 2010 5:00:20 pm

CBI has unearthed a racket operating from Roorkee in Uttarakhand and arrested five persons,including an NRI,for allegedly causing loss of crores of rupees to Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL).

According to CBI,the accused allegedly conspired to tamper computers of a BSNL exchange to make international calls and operate adult chat lines.

The arrested have been identified as Ashok Chaudhary,Sub Divisional Engineer of BSNL,Roorkee,Zia Alam,a native of Faridabad,Uttar Prdaesh,Saharanpur-based Abdul Mazid and Subhas Chand and the alleged kingpin of the racket,Sayeed Zaidi,an NRI based in Saudi Arabia.

“During investigation,it was revealed that the accused persons made calls to three African nations (Congo,Sierra Leone and Somalia) on some premium rate numbers without any ISD facility by tempering the computers of said exchange.

“Thus,subscribers of these international numbers were getting huge payment by telephone operators without paying any money at caller end,” CBI spokesperson Harsh Bhal said.

In turn,BSNL was suffering loss of crores of rupees.

International premium rate numbers of Somalia,Congo and Sierra Leone were taken by some persons in Italy and Saudi Arabia and these numbers were passed on by them to Zaidi for making calls from India through his Indian contacts,the spokesperson said.

He was also paid huge money through hawala transactions for carrying out such activities in India,the official said.

Premium rate telephone numbers are for phone calls during which certain services are provided and for which prices higher than normal are charged from callers.

Adult chat line is an example of premium rate telephone number. Unlike a normal call,part of the call charge is paid to the service provider through telephone company at the receiver end.

“Searches were conducted at the premises of accused persons which led to recovery of documents and details of money transactions. Till now,transactions of nearly Rs 1.5 crore by hawala has been established,” the spokesperson said.

Further investigation is continuing,he said.

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