Three held for running illegal VoIP centre

Kathmandu, June 6

The Central Investigation Bureau of Nepal Police raided a hi-tech Voice Over Internet Protocol call centre at Balkumari, Lalitpur, and apprehended three suspects for their involvement in telecommunications crime yesterday.

Those arrested by a team of ‘Operation Voice Fox’ of the supreme investigating agency are Shambu Risal, 33, of Makwanpur, Rajaram Shrestha, 31, and Milan Tamang, 19, of Kavre. Risal is the prime suspect, who had rented the first floor of a house at Balkumari to run the illegal call centre for the past few months.

Following Risal’s arrest, sleuths of CIB nabbed Shrestha and Tamang from Hetauda of Makwanpur and Bhakundebesi of Kavre. “Shrestha and Tamang had assisted Risal in funding, managing and installing VoIP equipment and other logistics,” said SP Chaudhary.

CIB officials also seized a 16-port VoIP Gateway device, a laptop, an optica modem and many other equipment used for bypassing international calls from the room during the raid.

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.

CIB said the phone calls received via illegal VoIP could not be traced, making it difficult for police to investigate crimes.

As many as 147 persons including 31 foreigners — from 98 places — have been arrested under the ‘Operation Voice Fox’ in the past seven 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.

According to CIB, all the racketeers were charged under the Telecommunications Act-1997, and produce before the concerned district courts.