The accused has been identified as Sunny Murgsen from Andheri in Mumbai. He was produced before the local court on Friday and remanded to five days of police custody.
A private telecom service provider’s nodal officer, Dhananjay Yadav, lodged the complaint and a trio associated with Seven Star Digital Network Pvt Ltd were booked on charges of cheating and under relevant sections of the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885.
Police said the Seven Star obtained an SIP trunk (virtual phone lines which enable users to make and receive national and international calls over the internet) from the private telecom company for the series 02406730000 to 02406730999 (1,000 numbers) on the pretext of professional use.
The service for the numbers was activated on January 31, 2022, and continued in use. On May 25, the private telecom operator alerted the regional office that the Aurangabad-based Seven Star was illegally routing international calls by bypassing the legal gateway.
The telecom company then formally alerted the cybercrime department, which carried out a detailed probe and found that despite not having any telecom licence for operating in the state, the suspects illegally routed the international calls by masking them as local numbers.
Cybercrime inspector Pravina Yadav told TOI that a manhunt for the other two suspects has been launched and “the preliminary probe has revealed that over 53,703 calls have been illegally routed by the suspect racketeers.”
Authorities said that such illegal telecom set-ups are considered as a national security threat since it becomes almost impossible for the law enforcement agencies to monitor the international long-distance (ILD) calls. Taking cognizance of the same, central agencies on Saturday reached out to the city cybercrime and gathered details of this illegal ILD audio calls racket.
The case came to light after a private telecom operator noticed something amiss in the activities of Seven Star. It carried out an internal inquiry, only to find the accused were using an illegal telecom set-up that masked international calls as local numbers. According to the law, no private service provider, except for the ones licenced by the Union of India are allowed to rout the international incoming as well as outgoing audio calls.