Ahmedabad crime branch and the officials from the department of telecom have uncovered illegal telephone exchange from the heart of the city, C G road, which might have facilitated up to 43 lakh international calls so far bypassing the authorised route.
The illegal telephone exchange which is based on session initiation protocol ( SIP) using cloud based services, on first impression appear to be just a tip of the iceberg of a much larger scam having serious security implications with a Bangladeshi kingpin, by name of ‘Sheriyar’ presently based in Dubai with connections in a UAE telecom company.
The verification of the conversations of all those 43 lakh calls made is not humanly possible, but those calls could have been calls for ransom, extortion, hawala and for other criminal activities linked with terrorism. The set up have facilitated enormous number of calls from Pakistan, India and Bangladesh.
The racket came to notice after the police received inputs about illegal telephone exchange being operated in Sarkhej area of Ahmedabad by one Tabrez Kataria. With the help of a Kerala-based man, Tabrez used an SIP line to a operator in Gulf. Name of one Rafiq Babu from Dubai have surfaced in this connection. The exchange converted VoIP calls to GSM calls for countries where internet telephony is regulated.
Apart from the security threat and underground economy concerns, the illegal telephone exchange causes huge loss to the telephone companies. Call data of only 1098 SIP lines is unearthed so far. Each line can host 1000 calls at a time.