While the forces of India and China are standing face to face in the Union Territory of Ladakh, the military intelligence and Mumbai Crime branch have exposed an illegal Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) telephone exchange in Mumbai. According to reports, this is the biggest spy network using VOIP telephony to be busted in India.

Security forces had suspected about this exchange after several security officials had received calls from suspected numbers in the last one month. Significantly, this year in the month of May, many officers associated with security forces had received calls from suspicious telephone numbers in which important information related to Ladakh and important defence establishment was sought from them.

Some officers even received calls from many suspicious numbers in which important information regarding the defence establishment from Ladakh was also sought. Those who sought information had given fake identity, so the role of ISI in this matter cannot be denied.

Security forces recovered 191 SIM cards, laptop modem, antennas, batteries and connectors used for illegal VoIP exchange. 71 of the 191 SIM cards were found active.

Investigations have revealed that such VOIP exchanges being run in Mumbai received calls from Pakistan which were converted to local numbers and routed to numbers in Kashmir and Ladakh. The calls were made with efforts to gather intelligence from the officers and Jawans associated with the security forces.

In this exchange, international voice calls were converted into local calls through SIM boxes made in China. These SIM boxes used a dynamic IMEI system which makes tracking them very difficult. The system has been declared illegal by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India. Till now the investigation has also revealed that the telecom department has lost crores of rupees through these exchanges.

“The exchanges which converted international voice calls originating from Pakistan into local GSM calls using the Chinese SIM Boxes (boxes fitted with GSM SIM cards of local cellular service providers) were busted in a police raid on Thursday. These SIM boxes also used dynamic IMEI system, which made them difficult to be tracked,” sources in security forces said. Apart from Pakistan, calls were received from other places like Dubai, Qatar etc also.

One accused has been arrested in connection with the illegal exchange and an investigation is underway to ascertain the identity of other individuals involved in the network and locations of other similar exchanges that may be present.