Staff Reporter

Crackdown on misuse of telecommunications

PATHANAMTHITTA: The unearthing of an unauthorised telephone exchange by the police in Thiruvalla on Friday exposes the increasing instance of misuse of telecommunication technology by vested interests.

Why four of the accused from Malappuram chose the Central Travancore town of Thiruvalla for setting up the illegal phone exchange appears to puzzle the police.

The investigation is progressing and more arrests will be made soon, the police said.

According to Circle Inspector K.B. Prafullachandran, who is investigating the case, four Malappuram youths, Sameel, Muhamed Razaque, Hassankutty and Shameer, had been operating the illegal exchange from Ebenezer Hostel situated close to Mar Athanasisos College For Advanced Studies in Thiruvalla (MACFAST) from July. Sameel (23) was arrested during a raid on the hostel on Friday. He is reported to have confessed to the police that somebody from Malappuram had installed the equipment and that he was engaged by the person.

The police also arrested Shaji T. Varghese, system administrator of the college, following the raid. The police said the seizure worth Rs.8 lakh to Rs.10 lakh included computers, link system, CISCO, VPN Router, D-Link 10/100 Ethernet Switch, Teno Ax series VOIP device with SIM cards in computer boxes with antenna rodes, wireless cards without antenna rodes, CISCO PIX Firewall, VPN Router 8-point switch, patch panel, connection cables, Opti Link and Nokia mobile phone set indicating cellular phone connections of reputed companies with a heap of assorted cables.

The police officer said the equipment could be possessed only with prior authorisation and licence from the Union Government.

Experts said the equipment were generally used for illegal routing of international calls.

A register with mobile numbers of different operators with corresponding SIM numbers was available there.

The Circle Inspector said the college authorities had confided that a 2MBps Internet leased line obtained by the college from a private service provider at an annual rate of Rs.55,000 was extended to a third party (a Kozhikode-based BPO) at a rate of Rs.60,000.

Suspended

The MACFAST college management has placed systems administrator Shaji T. Varghese under suspension, said Principal of the college Fr. Abraham Mulamoottil.

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