Police are on the lookout for the main accused and the others involved in the racket, which has been running for the past two years
Police are on the lookout for the main accused and the others involved in the racket, which has been running for the past two years

The Thane Crime Branch has busted an illegal telephone exchange racket, which was being operated for the past two years. Following the arrest of four people, four machines were recovered from Bhiwandi.

International calls
According to police, the calls, which were made using an app, originated mainly from Middle-Eastern countries like UAE and Saudi Arabia. Thereafter, the accused would divert them to Indians with the help of the telephone exchange machines. However, those receiving the calls would not be able to trace the numbers even if they called back, as the SIM cards used were fake ones. The cops said that this has led to a loss of Rs 30 crore for the government exchequer. It was only after a senior officer got to know that the machines were used to call Indians, they formed a team along with the Department of Telecommunication (DOT) and raided the spots.

A case has been registered at Bhoiwada police station under section 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property) of IPC and different sections of the Indian Telegraph Act 1885 and Indian Wireless Telegraphy Act 1933.

Who's the kingpin?
"The interrogation of the arrested accused has revealed that a former employee of a private mobile company is the kingpin and that everything was set up at Bhoiwada. We have found the location of the main accused. He will be arrested soon. We have also raided the houses of the arrested accused and the place from where they used to operate," said a police officer.

Speaking to mid-day, Thane police commissioner, Param Bir Singh, said, "We have seized a total of 420 SIM cards. Apart from this, we have also found nine routers, two laptops, Rs 15,000 cash and five mobile phones worth R17 lakh. After being produced in court, all the four accused were remanded in police custody."

Probing extortion angle
He further said, "We will take the Cyber Cell's help to trace the other accused. They may also be involved in threatening and extorting money from people."

When contacted, senior police inspector of Bhiwandi Crime Branch said, "The app that was used to make the calls is known as VOS 3000 switch. The accused will be in police custody till May 23. We are on the lookout for the others involved in the case."

Rs 30 cr: Loss faced by government exchequer due to the racket