Kathmandu, August 21 The Central Investigation Bureau of Nepal Police carried out coordinated raids in three places in the Kathmandu Valley and busted as many illegal Voice over Internet Protocol call centres on August 12. The call bypass centres were being operated by Kedar Achhami (28) of Kavre and Suman Shrestha (26) of Sindhupalchowk. CIB has arrested them to proceed with legal action. According to CIB, the duo had rented rooms to set up illegal call centres in the guise of bag traders. CIB officials said the law enforcement agency busted as many as 91 illegal VoIP centres across the country and arrested 137 racketeers since it launched a crackdown in 2010. Of the arrestees, 31 are foreigners, including 21 Bangladeshis. According to CIB, all of them were charged under the Telecommunications Act-1997 and they were produced before the concerned district courts. More than Rs 11.48 billion has been claimed in compensation from the accused. As per the law, a person who intentionally causes adverse effect, damage or any other loss to the telecommunication structure of the country is liable to a fine equal to the loss or five years in jail or both. The CIB has been acting tough against VoIPracketeers under its ‘Operation Voice Fox’. CIB has seized nearly 22,000 SIM cards of various telecom service providers and a huge cache of hi-tech equipment. The racketeers were found to have been involved in blocking the telecom service providers’ legal gateway to bypass incoming international calls, causing revenue losses to the authorised telecom companies in the country. Officials informed that Chinese nationals were the masterminds behind such illegal operations. They first introduced the call bypassing technology in Bangladesh through backdoor. When the Bangladeshi government launched a massive crackdown on VoIP operators in 2007, a section of the racketeers entered Nepal. Gradually, Nepalis also got associated with the racketeers and learned the techniques. Voice over Internet Protocol can be operated from anywhere, provided the operators have necessary equipment and have access to the Internet. Call bypassers use VoIP GSM gateway to divert international incoming calls from the official gateway by using SIM cards. The call is transferred to telecom subscribers through a GSM SIM card. The ISD then displays a personal caller identity on the receiver’s mobile phone set.