Bengaluru, Jun 10: Two people, who helped the kingpin Ibrahim obtain hundreds of SIM cards using the fingerprints of innocent people, and a 'Hawala' operator have been arrested in connection with the illegal telephone exchanges in the city, Bengaluru Police Commissioner Kamal Pant said on Thursday.

With this arrest, five people have been arrested in connection with the case including Ibrahim and the exchange operator Gautham.

The Bengaluru police on Wednesday said that its anti-terror cell coordinated with the Military Intelligence and unearthed six illegal telephone exchanges where 30 SIM boxes with 960 SIM cards were used.

Ibrahim Pullatti, hailing from Malappuram in Kerala, and Gautham B Vishwanathan from Tirupur in Tamil Nadu, had placed the SIM boxes at six areas of the city to carry out their illegal activities, police said.

Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Pant said two people, one from Bengaluru and another from Thoothukudi in Tamil Nadu, have been arrested.

The third man arrested in connection with the case hails from Bhatkal in Uttara Kannada district of Karnataka.

They had helped Ibrahim obtain a large number of SIM cards to set up an exchange of 960 telephone lines.

He however, did not divulge their identity.

"The duo used to obtain SIM cards using multiple fingerprints of those regular customers who used to go to them to get new phone connections," Pant said.

Speaking about Ibrahim, the City police chief said he had worked in Dubai as a driver and returned from there to set up the telephone exchange in Bengaluru using Voice Over Internet Protocol.

Gautham from Tamil Nadu was operating the exchange, he said.

Most of the calls originated from the Middle East and a few people there helped Ibrahim in making calls, the officer explained.

He added that the payment for the calls used to happen in Dubai and it was routed to India through a money laundering network.

"The man from Bhatkal, whom we have taken in our custody, used to route money through Hawala (money laundering network)," Pant said.

He, however, declined to comment on allegations about some people trying to locate military installations in the country, saying investigation is still in the preliminary stage and it would not be appropriate to say anything on this.

To a question whether such exchanges were a threat to national security, he said it could be used for any purpose.

"If a call is not coming through the proper channel, then we will have to look into it seriously.Only after the analysis, we will get to know slowly who were making calls and what their motives were," Pant said.

He said the police would take the help of other agencies as well if the need arises for a detailed investigation.

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Bengaluru, Jun 12: Karnataka police on Saturday said they have busted a Rs 290 crore plus scam that involved duping people through a mobile app after promising attractive interest on investment and two Chinese nationals were among the nine arrested.

The scam, aided by shell companies, is linked to money laundering and the suspected kingpin is a Kerala based business man with proximity to Chinese 'hawala' operators, they said.

Cyber Crime Division of CID said it has arrested accused persons, including two Chinese nationals, two Tibetans and five others acting as directors of the companies involved, and a search is on for the rest.

A complaint from Razor pay Software Private Limited said accused persons availed 'payment solutions' from them, claiming that they are in gaming, social and e-commerce businesses.

They, however, defrauded the company by using computer resources and by deviating from their original, registered line of business, the plaint said.

They started routing their transactions to collect payments from a different business named "Powerbank", an app listed in Google Playstore, cyber police said in a release.

Through customer complaints, the complainant company got to know that public invested money in the "Powerbank" app to earn interest on the invested amount.

The accused persons, after accepting the investments, neither gave the agreed interest nor the principal amount and cheated customers.

A case was registered under the Information Technology Act and 420 IPC (Cheating), the CCD said and added that the investigating team were successful in arresting nine men.

During investigation, it was found that Anas Ahmed, a Kerala based businessman, is the main person involved.

"We have also identified that he has very proximate connections with the Chinese hawala operators, which has come to light during the course of the investigation.

He had opened shell companies in the name of Bull Finch Technologies, H & S ventures and Clifford ventures to route the fraud money. Anas Ahamed is married to Chinese national and incidentally he did his studies in China," police said in the release.

Online applications hosted by him were later camouflaged and converted into different apps including Power Bank application, seeking investment from the public and promising good returns, the CCD said.

An unusual spike was seen in investments on the day Anees Ahmed announced much higher returns.

Subsequently, such apps were removed from Google Playstore and other websites and he absconded with the money.

Investigation showed Rs 290 crore inflow into his bank accounts and the CCD was successful in freezing a significant portion of it. There was a huge spike in opening of shell companies since November 2020.

"We have also observed that the Chinese handlers are in possession of a huge number of shell companies and bank accounts. Lured by the offer of the Chinese nationals, many innocent Indians and Tibetans have fallen in their trap to open shell companies and open bank accounts for them."