Bengaluru: The Anti-Terror Cell of the Bengaluru police probing the operation of illegal telephone exchange along with the Military Intelligence has so far unearthed 109 SIM box devices comprising 3,000 SIM cards, police said on Monday. The Bengaluru police had earlier said that its anti-terror cell coordinated with the Military Intelligence and unearthed six illegal telephone exchanges where 30 SIM boxes with 960 SIM cards were used.
Also, Ibrahim Pullatti and Gautham Vishwanathan who had placed the SIM boxes at various places in the city were arrested earlier in this connection. According to police, Mohammed Basheer, 51 and Anees Atthimanneel, 30, both residents of Malappuram in Kerala; Santhan Kumar, 29; Suresh Thangavelu, 32; and Jai Ganesh, 30, all residents of Thoothukudi in Tamil Nadu are among those arrested recently.
They were part of the gang operated by kingpin Ibrahim from Malappuram and the telephone exchange operator Gautham, who too hails from Tamil Nadu, police said. "This gang had placed 109 SIM boxes at six places with a capacity of 3,000 SIM cards. Besides causing loss to the Telecom department, they had compromised the security of the nation," the police said.
Santhan Kumar was a sales executive with a mobile service provider who used to dispatch the SIM cards through Suresh and Jai Ganesh, police said. They also said that Santhan Kumar used to collect SIM cards in the name of people who used to approach for new SIM cards.
He used to fraudulently use their fingerprints without their knowledge to get another SIM card and supply it to his accomplices in Bengaluru. The gang used to convert the international phone calls to local phone calls using the Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) causing financial losses to the Department of Telecommunication besides posing a security threat to the country, police said.
Police did not give details about the eighth member, a money launderer from Bhatkal in Uttara Kannada district. Since most of the calls originated from the Middle East, the payments were made there.
The money launderer used to bring money through the Hawala network, police said. Police suspect the involvement of more people in this network.