Officers say illegal exchanges have caused a loss of Rs 15 crore to state exchequer. (Representational)
Two men have been arrested in Maharashtra's Latur for allegedly running three illegal telephone exchanges in the town. The exchanges were raided and sealed by the local police who suspect that these were used by Pakistan's spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence or the ISI to gather information about Indian military.
Sources in the Anti-Terrorism Squad or ATS believe that these exchanges could also be used by terror handlers while planning terror attacks on India.
In first of the three raids, 96 SIM cards, a computer and three machines for call transforming (illegal international gateways) were seized. In the next raid, another shop in Valandi village in Devni Taluka of Latur, 14 SIM cards were seized.
The agencies then raided the location revealed by the second accused and seized 64 SIM cards, one laptop, two unauthorised international gateway machines and other electronic material.
The police allege that the accused were running the illegal telephone exchanges through which international VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) calls were routed through local mobile numbers. They used to convert a VOIP call from abroad into a voice call illegally and transfer that voice call to a call receiver in India through the illegal international gateway.
"This type of illegal VoIP exchange were used by the intelligence agency of the neighbouring country to acquire sensitive military information," a statement from the investigative agencies said.
Officers say these illegal exchanges have caused a loss of at least Rs 15 crore to the state exchequer. Officials say such telephone exchanges have been also busted in cities like Delhi, Hyderabad and Bhopal which were being used by the ISI to hide international calls and make them look like domestic voice calls.
The raids were conducted on Friday jointly by the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad, Latur Police and the Department of Telecommunications on the basis of military intelligence in Jammu and Kashmir.