Illegal VoIP call centre raided, one arrested

Kathmandu, July 3

The Central Investigation Bureau of Nepal Police raided a hi-tech Voice Over Internet Protocol call centre operating from a rented room in Subhakamana Marg, Kathmandu Metropolitan City-32, and arrested a suspect for his involvement in the telecommunications crime yesterday.

SP Krishnahari Sharma, CIB spokesperson, said Zafar Khan, 24, of New Delhi was found running the illegal VoIP call centre during the raid carried out by its team ‘Operation Voice Fox’.

“He was involved in blocking the telecom service providers’ legal gateway to bypass incoming international calls for the past few months, causing revenue losses to authorised telecom companies,” he said.

According to Central Investigation Bureau, the phone calls received via illegal VoIP could not be traced, making it difficult for police to investigate crimes.

Police have also seized photocopy of 40 passports of various persons, IME receipts, SIM cards, a laptop computer, VoIP gateway devices, router, modem and many other equipment used for bypassing international calls from the room. He had used passport of Nepalis and Indians to buy SIM cards for the purpose of call bypass.

As many as 160 persons including 34 foreigners — from 103 places — have been arrested under the ‘Operation Voice Fox’ in the past nines years and charged under the Telecommunications Act-1997.

As per laws, any 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. More than Rs 11.90 billion has been claimed in compensation from the accused.

According to Central Investigation Bureau, 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.