Exchequer suffers loss of Rs 294 cr due to illegal routing of calls

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New Delhi, Mar 13 (UNI) The national exchequer has suffered a loss of about Rs 294 crores in the last three years due to illegal routing of international calls.

Minister of State for Communication and Information Technology Shakeel Ahmed, in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha, said ''34 Vigilance Telecom Monitoring (VTM) cells have been created under the Department of Telecom (DoT) in various License Telecom Service Areas and major Telecom districts of the country.'' Almost 299 cases of illegal routing of calls have been detected over the last three years amounting to a quantum loss of Rs 294 crores, he added.

The VTM cells, with the help of law enforcement agencies constantly endeavor to check illegal routing of international calls through local lines.

Illegal re-routing of international calls is done in guise of local calls by private players, resulting in evasion of connectivity and Access Deficit Charges (ADC).

It also poses a threat to national security as the calls cannot be monitored. Moreover, the government's goal of increasing rural teledensity would also be hampered as the government uses the ADC fund to subsidise telecom services in rural and semi-urban sectors.

The department of VTM had started a toll free number 1800-110-420, to seek public participation for the detection to check this illegal practise.

''Surveillance has been increased to detect the fraud by verifying the bulk booking of telephones and monitoring the call traffic,'' the Minister said adding ''VTM cells under DoT act as the interface between the security agencies and licensed service providers.'' UNI RT/BJR PDT RS1639

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