Vol. 5 Num 945 Thu. January 25, 2007  
Front Page

Another illegal VoIP firm busted
Tk 25cr equipment seized

The Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) seized Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) equipment worth around Tk 25 crore busting an unscrupulous phone service business at Azimpur in the capital yesterday.

With yesterday's recovery, the Rab has busted eight unauthorised VoIP business centres -- seven in the capital and one in the port city of Chittagong -- since December 26. The total seized items would be worth several hundred crore taka, Rab officials said.

Illegal VoIP operators use the equipment to generate or terminate overseas calls by first turning voice calls into data, routing it over the internet and then turning the data into voice again.

The method, also known as internet telephony, bypasses BTTB (Bangladesh Telegraph and Telephone Board), the sole carrier for overseas calls in Bangladesh and thus gets away without paying a huge revenue.

Yesterday's raid was made on a tip-off that some people are operating VoIP equipment to illegally divert calls abroad by call origination and termination using BTTB phones and mobile SIM (subscriber identity module) cards at Sheikh Shaheb Bazar in Azimpur.

A team of Rab intelligence raided the house minutes past midnight yesterday and found huge VoIP equipment in five rooms on the ground floor and third floor of the four-storeyed building.

The seized equipment include 37 GSM fixed terminals, 55 fixed wireless terminals, 28 wireless local loops, 25 quantum gateway equipment, 88 FWT and one voice finder.

Rab sources said one Mohammad Selim alias Dodul used to run the unauthorised phone services business. He is absconding.

A case was lodged against him with Lalbagh Police Station in this connection.

Yesterday's operation came about 26 hours after a similar seizure from an office at Purana Paltan where the Rab men confiscated VoIP equipment worth about Tk 10 lakh.

The seized items include computers, 228 SIM cards of different cellphone operators, 42 telluler devices and loads of internet cables' coils.

A Dhaka court yesterday placed four people, arrested in connection with the unauthorised business, on a three-day remand for interrogation.

Earlier the Rab men produced owner of the office Mainul Islam Khan and his staff -- Abdul Kuddus, Mosharraf Hossain, and Shohag Sikder -- before the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate's Court seeking a 10-day remand.

On December 26, Rab busted an illegal VoIP business centre at a fifth-floor office at Concord Tower in Dhaka and arrested Faruquzzaman and Mokhlesur Rahman alias Mamun with huge VoIP equipment.

Run by film actor Helal Khan, as the arrestees said, the firm used to make and market international calling cards beside call origination and termination.

A day later, Rab intelligence team seized VoIP equipment apart from international calling cards from a computer shop at Asha Plaza in Mirpur-1 and held two people.

In a separate raid the same day, the intelligence wing team arrested three people from a house at Senpara in Mirpur for operating unauthorised VoIP business and seized VoIP equipment.

Rab arrested seven more people the same day raiding another illegal VoIP business centre at Siddheshwari Golden Plaza in Ramna and confiscated huge VoIP equipment from their possession.

Another huge cache of VoIP equipment was recovered on January 15, when Rab-10 members busted an illegal VoIP telephone exchange set up at Twin Tower in Shantinagar.

In Chittagong on Monday, Rab-7 members detained Azam Uddin Rubel at Noorbag area under Kotwali Police Station for running unauthorised VoIP business for a long time. Apart from seizing a huge cache of VoIP equipment, they also arrested two of his accomplices.