Saturday, May 14, 2011

Pakistan - Operators of an illegal VoIP gateway for phone traffic convicted

[daily times] Additional Sessions Judge Tanveer Meer Thursday rejected a bail plea filed by a cyber crime case accused of running illegally gateway exchange and adjourned the case till April 25. The complainant into the case was Zonal Director Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) Rawalpindi.

A First Information Report (FIR) vide 04/ 10 dated 09/2010 was registered against the accused under section 31 of PTA 1996, r/v 36, 37 ETO 2002 r/w 420,468,471,109 PPC. PTA Zonal Director (ZD) Rawalpindi Muhammad Shafiq lodged a complaint No. 5/2010(IVT) ZDR/PTA with Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) dated 09-04-2010.

PTA official, in his complaint, claims that a Retail Sale officer (RSO) at M/s Saif Communication situated in F-10 Markaz Islamabad Sajjad Anwar was asked about the mobile phone SIM 0313-5241114 that was used to load Rs 30 to 40 thousand twice a week using unauthorized VoIP gateway exchange.

RSO Sajjad Anwar, PTA alleged, disclosed that the said mobile number was in use of Muhammad Zakria Khan, owner M/s Pakistan Motors F-10. Sajjad said Zakria had paid through cheques for easy loads, his latest cheque of Rs 35,000 bearing No 4959858 of Standard Chartered Bank, Islamabad dated 08/04/10.

FIA along PTA officials raided Pakistan Motors and took Zakaria into custody. After a little argument, he produced the said SIM and an operational illegal VoIP gateway exchange being operated for illegal termination of international voice using unauthorized Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP).

The defence counsel Thursday submitted the bail application claiming his client was falsely embroiled in the case and ulterior motive on the part of complainant and the police. The counsel asked the court for an interim bail of the accused against on hundred thousand rupees but court rejected the bail plea. The accused was arrested on April 10, 2010, a seven-day physical remand for the accused was obtained from competent court and on 17/04/2010 he was sent to judicial lockup. Earlier the officials seized the equipment and arrested the accused that, upon further interrogation, disclosed that he also ran another illegal VoIP gateway exchange in F-11/4, Islamabad. The accused, using these gateways, entertained overseas calls at source country(s) and converted into VoIP by using Internet as a medium. The calls were transmitted to Pakistan where the illegal gateway exchanges containing mobile SIMs / IMSIs were installed. The calls were converted from VoIP to GSM and transmitted to destination telephone numbers so it would appear to the recipients that calls were coming from local mobile telephone numbers. The original overseas telephone numbers were masked the legal gateway Exchange at source country and Pakistan were being bypassed, hence causing wrongful loss of millions of US$ to the exchequers of source county (s) and Pakistan.

It was learned, during the investigation, that the accused perpetrate the crime in connivance with his elder brother Hafiz Muhammad Bilal who had sent him money from UAE through Western Union, AA Exchange Company (Pvt.) Ltd. as a fund to operate illegal gateway exchange. It came out that he received an amount of Rs.135,995.99/- through Western Union vide MTCN No. 308-631-2406 sent by his brother from United Arab Emirates (UAE).

FIA informed the court that it had seized IMSI (SlMs), illegal gateway equipment, debit card, and visa card from his possession. Other perpetrators involved in the case with Zakria are also being included in the case once their complete particulars are obtained.

FIA also informed that the further investigation regarding the case was under way and vowed to complete it soon. Additional Sessions Judge adjourned the case till April 25, 2011.

Illegal gateway exchange case

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