Bhopal: In a major breakthrough Madhya Pradesh police’s anti-terror squad (ATS) has arrested 11 persons for allegedly running an international call racket that helped Pakistan’s ISI to spy on India’s military operations. A relative of a ruling BJP councillor is among those arrested.
The accused were operating a parallel telephone exchanges using Chinese equipment and SIM-boxes, police said.
All the 11 men have been booked under provisions of the Indian Telegraph Act, besides Section 122 and 123 of Indian Penal Code (IPC), which deal with collecting arms, information and other things for waging war against the country. MP ATS inspector general Sanjeev Shami, however, refused to speak about the political linkage of those taken into custody.
Balram from Satna has been identified as the mastermind of the racket.
“Investigations revealed that Satna (MP) resident Balram was funding the activities of the duo held in Jammu. Balram, who was in constant touch with Pak-based handlers, used multiple bank accounts to fund the anti-national operations of the duo arrested last year in Jammu,” Shami said.
Police said that the gang was busted based on interrogation of two ISI operatives, Satwindar and Dadu, arrested from RS Pura area of Jammu district in November 2016. They had sensitive information on defence installations and camps, besides other matters of strategic importance to handlers in Pakistan.
Balram and other gang members were running many parallel telephone exchanges in Bhopal, Gwalior, Jabalpur and Satna. These exchanges were used by Pak handlers to send money into the bank accounts of Balram. This was then sent to the two ISI agents in Jammu.
The accused used SIM boxes( which house SIM cards), and other equipment to mask the identity of callers from Pakistan and other countries.
The overseas calls of handlers were converted into local calls using SIM cards obtained on fake ID proofs and also landline numbers. The calls were made via the internet and sent to SIM boxes which redirected the VoIP traffic onto mobile networks.
ISI agents used these exchanges to pose as senior army officers and call up military personnel in Jammu and Kashmir. The agents use to get details of strategic operations particularly in sensitive areas near the LoC.
“We’ve seized hundreds of SIM cards from the 11 men, who were running such parallel phone exchanges in different MP town. The role of employees of some telecom companies too is under the scanner and more arrests will be made in coming days,” said Shami.