The Allahabad High Court on Friday (July 9, 2021) denied granting bail to a man accused of running an illegal international telecom set up and illegally routing calls from foreign countries to India. [Karam Allahi v. State of U.P]
Emphasizing the threat such an act posed to national security Justice Samit Gopal rejected the bail application while terming the activities to be nothing less than an organized crime.
“The said act was an act by which there was a serious threat to national security. Certain other appliances and instruments were recovered which were awaiting to be installed. The activities cannot be termed anything less than an organized crime. Looking to the facts and circumstances of the case, I do not find it a fit case for bail, hence, the bail application is rejected,” it was noted.
The bench of Justice Samit Gopal was hearing a bail application under Section 439 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 filed by one Karam Allahi. The FIR had been filed under Section 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property), Section 467 (forgery of valuable security, will, etc.), Section 468 (forgery for the purpose of cheating), Section 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 and Section 4(exclusive privilege in respect of telegraphs, and power to grant licenses), Section 20 (establishing, maintaining, or working unauthorized telegraph), Section 21 (using unauthorized telegraphs), and Section 25(internationally damaging or tampering with telegraphs) of the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885.
As per the FIR, a joint raid was conducted at a premise in Noida by the Department of Telecom, UP ATS, and UP Police as per the input Delhi Department of Telecom regarding the running of illegal international telecom set up. During the raid, the team found that there was a regular establishment set up which was illegally routing calls from foreign countries to India. A huge number of outgoing calls from the setup landing on Indian telephone/mobile numbers were discovered. Appliances were also recovered which were in running condition and the exchange was working in routing international calls to India through the setup. It was assessed that approximately Rs.45 lakhs was the loss to the Government exchequer by the act of the accused by bypassing the illegal international gateways.
The FIR also mentioned that the modus operandi of the accused persons caused huge loss to the government exchequer and the accused gained an advantage for themselves dishonestly through fraudulent means. It was further mentioned that such types of calls posed a great threat to national security as the international calls remained unmonitored by law enforcement agencies. The foreign callers in such calls remain unknown as the routing was internet-based and hence difficult for the law enforcement agencies of the country to monitor and to trace any suspicious call involved in illegal activities and anti-national activity and thus serious threat to the national security was there due to the same.
Senior Advocate Manish Tiwary, appearing for the applicant argued that the entire setup as found by the raiding team was suggestive of a business of phone marketing. He argued that the material recovered during the raid was used for running a departmental portal and not for any other use.
He argued that the offenses with which the applicant has been charged under the Indian Telegraph Act are bailable and non-cognizable in nature. The applicant has been languishing in jail for the past 5 months, having no criminal history to his credit he should be granted bail.
In response, the learned Additional Advocate General vehemently opposed the applicant’s prayer for bail and argued that the setup was found working and there was regular work through the instruments by which a huge number of calls had landed and were transferred giving a different CLI number within the country. He also argued that the raiding team also found many other appliances which were made operational.
“It is argued that the agencies were unable to perform their work properly due to the working of the setup. The government exchequer has suffered huge financial loss also. The calls bypassing through the setup remained unmonitored which was a great threat to the national security”, the AGA argued.
After hearing the arguments of both the counsels, Justice Samit Gopal stated that the acts of the accused are such that they constitute an organized crime and pose a serious threat to national security and rejected the bail application.