An Indian national has been detained who was allegedly involved in operating call bypass from Nepal. 38-year-old Irfan Sufiyan Khan was apprehended by a team of the District Police Office, Parsa, and Cyber Bureau.
If convicted, the detainee could face up to 5 years in prison.
Khan had been running a call bypassing center from rented rooms in Birgunj, the preliminary investigation reveals.
In its raid, the police found a 32-port VoIP gateway, 2 routers, multiple SIM cards, and other electronic equipment. He will now be processed as per the Telecommunications Act 2053.
Call bypass is one of the serious and frequently noticed cyber crimes in Nepal. It is not only illegal to operate such calls; the government also loses revenues when such calls are made. The authorities take it as a serious offense in Nepal.
What is call bypass?
Call Bypass is an act of diverting international calls using equipment from the gateways of the local operators.
An international call requires three components in place. It requires a call-sending organization, the carrier that carries the call and the third is the telecommunication service provider. These are telecom companies such as Ncell, and Ntc.
What does a gateway do? A gateway forwards calls from one network to another.
If the three components coordinate in a linear route, a call is legitimate and draws no law enforcement attention.
A call or SMS from a sender terminates on the server of a telecom company in one country. This is a legitimate telecom service. Ntc, Ncell, and Smart Cell are the licensed service providers in Nepal who brings such calls to individual subscribers who pay for the service.
However, an international call being can be diverted from its regular path. It is called call bypassing. It converts an international call into a local call for a mobile subscriber. When it happens, the operator has to charge the bill as a local call. This rids the telecom operator and the government of both the revenues they could generate from a successful international call.
The middleman who diverts an international call and disguises it as a local call makes the earnings which otherwise are collected by the operator and the government in taxes. This is why it is treated as a serious offense.
Call Bypass punishable by a prison term
Recently, the Supreme Court of Nepal has declared Call Bypass a serious offense punishable by law. Prior to this, there was a debate whether those indicted with VoIP engagement be committed to a jail term. However, in a landmark decision on July 21st, the Court ruled that call bypass is a threat to telecommunication company and the ‘culpruits’ could be subject to punishment.
Prior to this, call bypass was not conisdered serrious enough to warrant a prison term and it was suggested that mere fines to the service provider was enough punishment.
However, with the new ruling, those who have been detained for using VoIP calls will be prosecuted and possibly face a prison term.
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