Spy network seeking info on defence installations busted, one held

A VoIP exchange was being used by hostile intel agencies to seek military information through calls and posed a security threat to the nation.

Published: 30th May 2020 06:33 PM  |   Last Updated: 30th May 2020 06:33 PM   |  A+A-

The VoIP exchange which was busted by the sleuths (Photo | EPS)

By Express News Service

NEW DELHI: The Crime Branch of Mumbai Police and the Military Intelligence team (Jammu and Kashmir) have unearthed a suspected espionage racket. A suspect has been arrested and the racket is said to be run by a foreign intelligence agency.

According to sources, a joint operation carried out on May 28, led to the unearthing of an illegal VoIP (Voice over IP) exchange. “One person has been arrested in Mumbai and the probe is underway to ascertain the identity of more individuals involved.” told the sources.

Three functional SIM boxes and one standby SIM box along with 191 SIM cards, laptop modem, antenna, batteries and connectors have been recovered during the operation, added the sources.

VoIP (voice over IP) is the transmission of voice and multimedia content over Internet Protocol (IP) networks.

The MI became active when defence personnel earlier this month received calls from suspicious numbers, seeking information related to Ladakh region and important defence installations. “The callers posed fictitious identity and the involvement of ISI was suspected.” said the sources.

Further investigation by MI and Mumbai Police located few illegal VoIP exchanges in Mumbai, which route calls from Pakistan to local numbers, which were then used to extract information from defence persons.

The exchanges converted international voice calls originating from Pakistan into local GSM calls using the Chinese SIM Boxes (boxes fitted with GSM SIM cards of local cellular service providers).

These SIM boxes also used dynamic IMEI system, which made them difficult to be tracked. This system is declared illegal by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India.

The exchanges were being used to extract sensitive information and cause revenue losses in crores to the country’s telecom department.

As per agencies, the subsequent probe has revealed that those exchanges were being used by hostile intelligence agencies to seek military information through calls and posed a security threat to the nation.

The sources said that more arrests are likely in the matter in coming days, as they might also be linked to compromising of the country’s internal security.

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