Three more arrested in Bangalore illegal telephone exchange case

Bengaluru, Jun 10 (PTI) Bengaluru Police Commissioner Kamal Pant on Thursday said two people and a ‘hawala’, who helped Ibrahim get hundreds of SIM cards using the fingerprints of innocent people in connection with an illegal telephone exchange in the city. ‘ The operator has been arrested.

With this arrest, a total of five people, including Ibrahim and the operator of the exchange, Gautam, have been arrested in this case.

Bengaluru Police said on Wednesday that its counter-terrorism cell in coordination with military intelligence had busted six illegal telephone exchanges in which 960 SIM cards were being used in 30 SIM boxes.

Police said Ibrahim, a resident of Malappuram in Kerala and Gautam B Viswanathan, a resident of Tiruppur in Tamil Nadu, had installed SIM boxes in six areas in the city to conduct illegal activities. Talking to reporters on Thursday, Pant said that one person from Bengaluru and another from Thothukudi in Tamil Nadu have been arrested.

The third person arrested in this case is a resident of Bhatkal in North Kannada district of Karnataka. He helped Ibrahim obtain a large quantity of SIM cards to set up an exchange of 960 telephone lines. However, he did not reveal the identity of these people.

“They both used the fingerprints of ordinary customers who used to approach them for new phone connections to get the SIM,” Pant said.

Talking about Ibrahim, the city police chief said that he had worked as a driver in Dubai and had returned to set up a telephone exchange in Bengaluru using Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). He said that Gautam, a resident of Tamil Nadu, used to operate the exchange.

The official said that most of the phone calls came from West Asia and some people there helped Ibrahim in making the calls. He said the calls were paid for in Dubai and were routed to India through a money laundering network.

Pant said, “The person, a resident of Bhatkal whom we have detained, used to siphon off money through hawala.”

He, however, declined to comment on allegations that some people were also trying to get information about the country’s military installations. He said that the investigation is still in the initial stage and it would not be appropriate to say anything about it right now.

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