The Army officials in the month of April were flustered by a series of phone calls on their helplines in Siliguri, West Bengal where unknown callers trying to ask for details about army movements and units. In a span of few weeks, the army had tracked down the suspicious calls to a region in Bengaluru.
Military Intelligence (Southern Command) led the investigation in the city which revealed the information that few people were taking advantage of the telecom system to go about with illegal activities. According to the sources, the suspects utilized telecom boxes and SIM cards and direct the calls from terrorist groups.
On June 7, Military Intelligence (Southern Command) and the state’s Anti-Terrorist Cell (ATC) conducted a joint raid, where two individuals were arrested from BTM layout. They also arrested another suspect, a hawala operator from Bhatkal.
The two men arrested are Gautam Viswanathan, 27, of Tiruppur district in Tamil Nadu and Ibrahim Mullatti, 36, of Malappuram district in Kerala.
The city police commissioner, Kamal Pant said both of them are in police custody with the charges of defrauding the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India and for illegally creating a telephone exchange.
The men were also blamed for “disrupting the country’s security”, said a press note released by Army Intelligence and law enforcement.
The men had prepared 30 electronic devices for the installation of 32 SIM cards throughout six regions in BTM Layout, as per Sandeep Patil, joint commissioner of police, Crime, and head of the Central Crime Branch (CCB).
They used over 900 SIM cards which converted ISD calls to local calls in an unauthorized manner, and facilitated the third-party callers to circumvent the telecom service.
Pant said, “It is a case of cheating. Beyond this, they and others were involved in more illegal things. Calls were coming in from the Middle East. For example, a member of the underworld sitting abroad doing an extortion call. They were camouflaging their number. More serious things may come to note.”
Pant had declared a prize reward of Rs 30,000 for giving information about the other involved suspects.
The police revealed Ibrahim owned the SIM boxes and the team was headed by ATC unit official ACP B R Venugopal and P I Bharat.
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