Indian Govt Keeps Eye on Foreign Firms Behind Illegal Phone Exchanges

Investigating agencies hint upon growing concern for foreign companies facilitating unauthorised gateways in India.


The Mumbai Police recently arrested five people on the charges of running an illegal telephone exchange with the help of a server based in the United Kingdom. The Anti-Terrorism Squad and Mumbai crime branch on Tuesday raided three different locations and seized equipment that was used in the process.

The recoveries made and the information collected indicate the growing concern for foreign companies facilitating unauthorised gateways in India for setting up illegal telecommunication channels, which pose a threat to security and incur losses to the Department of Telecommunications.

Illegal International Gateways

Aacting on a tip-off from a military agency based in Jammu and Kashmir, the police teams raided the Cheetah Camp area of Trombay in Mumbai last week, according to media reports.

“Seventy SIM cards, one router, 3 machines for call transforming (illegal international gateways) were seized in this raid. This seized property is said to be costing about Rs 4,55,000,” a senior police official told the media.

The arrested accused, identified as Mohammd Nazim Khan, Shams Alam Shaikh, Shahid Jamal, Noor Mohammad Ashraf Shaikh and Nasir Hussain Kadar Hussain Shaikh, had set up the illegal business in Mumbai after one of them underwent training in China. They used to convert a VoIP (voice over internet technology) to route calls from abroad and transfer them to receivers in India through an illegal international gateway.

Foreign Companies Under Scanner

In January 2016, a similar racket was busted in Kochi when the officials of the Telecom Enforcement department nabbed three people representing Aatos Infotech for running an illegal telephone exchange in Kochi providing international calling facility. They were bypassing the International Subscriber Dialling (ISD) network to re-route international calls to India at cheaper rates.

Department of Telecommunications in India has now been identifying and tracking these cases on a regular basis. In July this year, Latur Police tried to trace the foreign companies that are providing such gateways in India. Most of these firms are found to have their bases in United Kingdom and China.

“We have the details of a few companies. We will send these to DoT while submitting the charge sheet and would also request them to take appropriate action on such companies as it is a concern of national security,” a senior officer of Latur Police said, DNA reported.

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