BHOPAL: Twenty months after busting Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI)-guided Chinese SIM box enabled phone exchanges (whose income was used to fund spying in India), the Madhya Pradesh police’s anti-terror squad (ATS) has busted two illegal telephone exchanges in Indore now.
Probe is also underway to figure out whether these newly busted exchanges too were directly or indirectly engaged in spying funding operations or not.
The two exchanges which converted international voice calls originating from Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kuwait, Nepal, Qatar and some other Middle East nations into local GSM calls using the Chinese SIM Boxes (boxes fitted with GSM SIM cards of local cellular service providers) have been busted.
Two men identified as Mufaddal Lokhandwala and Burahuddin Mahuwala have also been arrested for operating these illegal exchanges.
According to sources at the MP state police headquarters, the joint operation of ATS and Cyber Cell in Indore led to the seizure of ten SIM boxes, 150 GSM SIM cards, laptops, high-speed internet connection modems and related equipments.
More arrests are likely in the matter in coming days, as they might also be linked to compromising of country’s internal security.
The arrested men have been booked under IPC sections as well as provisions of Indian Telegraph Act and Indian Wireless Telegraphy Act.
Investigations so far have revealed that the busted exchanges caused revenue losses worth over Rs 1.23 crore to the country’s telecom department.
Sources privy to investigations revealed that users based in the Middle East and other nations benefitted through these exchanges by getting their voice calls converted into local Indian GSM calls at cheap rates using special apps designed by companies in Kuwait and some other companies in the Middle East and Bangladesh.
Around 20 months back, similar Chinese SIM box-enabled phone exchanges were busted in Bhopal, Jabalpur and Gwalior by the MP ATS and 15 men were arrested, including a BJP IT Cell member Dhruv Saxena.
Subsequent probe had then revealed that those exchanges were being guided by Pakistan’s ISI handlers to dupe Indian citizens, particularly in South India via phone lottery fraud and the proceeds of the fraud were being parked in bank accounts of poor people in Satna, Rewa and adjoining districts of Baghelkhand region of MP via agents, including an alleged Bajrang Dal leader Balram Singh.
The fraud money parked in the accounts hired from poor people by Balram and aides was subsequently used to fund ISI agents spying on strategic Indian interests across the country, including two agents Satwindar and Dadu who were arrested a few years back in Jammu and Kashmir.