BERHAMPUR: In a major breakthrough, State Police has blown the lid off illegal mini telephone exchanges in Berhampur which were used by Mumbai’s underworld don Chhota Rajan. Four persons have been arrested in this connection.Using the telephone exchange which camouflages ISD and STD calls as local, Rajan’s gang member Suresh Pujari had demanded a two crore extortion from a realtor in Mumbai. A case in this regard has already been registered by Mumbai Police.
Gopalpur Police was tipped off about the call details by Mumbai Crime Branch which had earlier arrested four associates of Rajan. A team of Mumbai Police will come to Berhampur to interrogate the four, Berhampur Sadar SDPO Ashok Mohanty said.
Police said the SIM boxes were in possession of T Laxmi Narayana Shroff, a resident of Ambapua in Berhampur city. The SIM boxes act as mini telephone exchanges and were procured from China through some firms of Delhi, Ahmedabad and Hyderabad.
The SIM box is an electronic device with slots for 16 to 32 (in some cases 64) SIM cards in series, Mohanty said. The SIM boxes require a 6 mbps leased line to be operational. These devices are not authorised by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).“Once STD/ISD calls are made, the signals search for the SIMs. Once one card is latched, the calls are then converted to local calls through the device. The receiver presumes the call to be local though it is an international call in disguise and comes at a lower cost. When the identity of the SIM is searched, it turns out to be fake,” Mohanty said.
During interrogation by Gopalpur Police, Shroff confessed to be operating the illegal system with Pradeep Chowdhury, Suresh Satpathy and Santosh Sahu of Berhampur city. The entire operation was running from a shopping mall of Berhampur called S-World which was used by Chhota Rajan’s henchman Pujari.
Police said the devices were procured through some big firms such as GB Venture of Delhi, Mega Voice of Ahmedabad and a Hyderabad-based company. Mohanty said the officials of these companies are being contacted. International connections with Singapore, Dubai and China are also being tracked.
“We are also checking if similar SIM boxes are installed at Bhubaneswar, Rourkela and Puri. This is one of its kind crime in the State though gangsters use such methods in metros and bigger cities,” he said.
Five such SIM boxes were recovered from the possession of the four. Cost of these devices is estimated at about ` five lakh.