The illegal telephone exchange racket routed international VoIP calls through local mobile numbers. Representation pic

In a joint operation by the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) and the Latur police, two persons were arrested from Hyderabad for running an illegal telephone exchange racket that allegedly allowed Pakistan's intelligence agency to acquire sensitive military information from India. The racket is purported to have cost a loss of R15 crore to the national exchequer.

The arrests were made based on the confession of a Latur-based SIM card distributor as well as reliable input from the military intelligence in Jammu and Kashmir.

The racketeers used to illegally convert VoIP (voice over internet protocol that enables use of the Internet to make telephone calls) calls from abroad into voice calls and transferred those to beneficiaries in India through an unauthorised gateway.

According to sources, the exchanges were used by the Pakistani intelligence agency to acquire sensitive military information, and caused a revenue loss of R15 crore.

The arrests were preceded by two raids on an illegal telecommunication exchange racket in Latur on June 16, during which Shankar Biradar (33) from Prakashnagar (Latur) and SIM card distributor Ravi Sabde (27) from Chakur taluk (Latur) were arrested. A total of 174 SIM cards as well as other electronic gadgets and material were seized from them.