BHOPAL: The parallel phone exchanges busted by the Madhya Pradesh ATS last month for allegedly aiding spying by Pakistan in India caused a loss of around Rs 3,000 crores to the country’s telecom department, Madhya Pradesh home minister Bhupendra Singh told the State Assembly on Monday.
The State’s home minister made the revelation while replying to the call attention motion of Opposition Congress legislators, including Ram Niwas Rawat, Govind Singh and Shailendra Patel during the ongoing budget session of Vidhan Sabha.
“These parallel telephone exchanges were not only being run in towns of Madhya Pradesh, but in other parts of the country as well. Our police has not only busted the exchanges in the state, but also shared with central intelligence agencies as well as counterparts in other states, the locations of similar parallel exchanges being run in other parts of the country. The investigations reveal that these exchanges operational across the country have caused a loss of around Rs 3,000 crores to the telecom department,” said Singh while replying to a flurry of questions by the opposition MLAs.
“The MP ATS has also frozen the bank accounts of five of the 15 men who have been arrested in the case,” he added. The minister also informed the house that the State police ATS was now focussing on investigating the person(s) who had developed the software for running these parallel exchanges.
Importantly, the alleged espionage ring of Pak handlers was busted by the MP ATS with the arrest of 11 men from different towns of Bhopal on February 8 and 9.
The arrested men included members of the ruling BJP, notably Dhruv Saxena, the party’s IT cell convener in Bhopal.
The racket was busted by the State police based on inputs given by two alleged ISI operatives Satwindar and Dadu who were arrested by J&K police in the RS Pura area of Jammu in November 2016.
The three-month long investigations subsequently led to around two dozen Chinese SIM box exchanges being allegedly operated in several towns of MP, including Bhopal.
Probe based on questioning the men arrested from MP, Bihar and Delhi further revealed these exchanges were helping Pak handlers perpetrate phone lottery fraud with Indian people and the resultant money was being deposited in bank accounts of MP. Major part of the alleged proceeds of phone fraud was being channelized to fund spying by Pak agents in India.
The busted illegal phone exchanges were using Chinese SIM boxes equipped with multiple GSM SIM cards to convert internet calls emanating from Pak handlers via VoIP gateways into local GSM calls, thus causing enormous loss to the telecom department.
Raising the issue of October 31 Bhopal Central Jail break by eight SIMI men and their subsequent encounter by the MP police, the Pak spying ring and the recent blast in an Ujjain-bound train by suspected ISIS lone-wolf attackers, the opposition Congress MLAs alleged on Monday that terror activities had risen in MP over the last decade.
The legislators also alleged that intelligence agencies had failed to prevent these terror acts.
The MP home minister, however, denied the allegations and instead claimed that for the first time in the country, terror suspects in both train blast case and the jailbreak were arrested and gunned down within five to six hours by the MP police.