Kozhikode: The police have tracked down eight parallel telephone exchanges operating discreetly in Kozhikode city. One person has been taken into custody.

Inspections were carried out on Thursday based on a tip-off by the Intelligence Bureau (IB). Cheruvannur native Jurais who operated the parallel telephone exchange at Chinthavalappu in the city was taken into custody by the Kasaba police. The illegal exchange operated out of a single room on the third floor of a building at Chinthavalappu.

The search was conducted after days of surveillance, and the operator nabbed. Searches at other centres continued late into Thursday night.

These parallel telephone exchanges, known as ‘kuzhal phone’ in local parlance, put through calls made from abroad to the country illegally.

Calls from abroad are received via internet broadband connection and converted to mobile calls from within the country using Chinese devices by the parallel exchange. Gadgets that can operate 32 SIM cards at a time have been seized from these centres.

The parallel telephone exchanges are used to make and receive phone calls from abroad to India at low rates. As there would be no phone call records, these have been used for illegal activities too. International calls will appear as local calls on the phone.

This would also cause huge losses to the mobile phone service providers. But the service providers do not file a complaint and this is helping the accused in such instances, according to the police.

The police are also investigating if the electronic devices found at a rented building at Velliparambu are that of the parallel telephone exchange.