Pakistani caller tricks NSG officer; gets Hyd blasts info

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Hyderabad, March 6: A telephone call originating from Pakistan to an officer of the elite National Security Guards (NSG) seeking information about Hyderabad blasts has led security agencies to make a fresh push for blocking of Internet telephony.

The call to a Major-rank NSG officer, who is on deputation from Army, was termed as "not alarming" but the incident has raised questions about adherence of ‘Do's and Dont's' being issued from time to time by central security agencies.

The NSG has instituted an inquiry to ascertain the cause of lapse in the incident wherein a suspected ISI agent called the EPBX of the NSG office here and asked for the Major, who reportedly talked about the movement of the ‘Black Cats' to the site of the twin blasts thinking it was a senior officer at the other end as conveyed to him.

Hyderabad blasts

However, the officer did not share any important evidence about the trigger mechanism of the explosives that was used in the blasts in Hyderabad's Dilsukhnagar area last month that had left 16 people dead.

NSG chief Arvind Ranjan has "ordered an inquiry" but said there was nothing alarming in the conversation as no vital information had been leaked to the unidentified caller from Pakistan.

VoIP to blame

According to sources on Tuesday, a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) call is becoming handy for ISI agents and terrorists operating from Pakistan and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).

The mushrooming of unregistered VoIP or Internet telephony is becoming a security problem as the origin of caller and time of call cannot be ascertained immediately.

Central security agencies have been pressing Department of Telecom to ask service providers to come up with a solution for which several rounds of meetings have taken place between DoT, National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO) and service providers.

However, no solution has been found to block unregistered VoIP operating from outside the country's borders.

Disaster waiting to happen

The VoIP calls were found to have been used extensively in Jammu and Kashmir. Last year, Brigade Headquarters in North Kashmir received such a suspicious call whereby information pertaining to the departure of officer from the office was shared.

Timely intervention by security agencies saved a possible disaster.

Such calls were even received at the office of the Superintendent of Police (Sopore) in North Kashmir last year whereby a policeman gave information about movement of their SP to the caller who had identified himself as Deputy Inspector General of Police.However, timely intervention saved the officer as his route was changed as otherwise he would have fallen into the trap of terrorists who had laid an ambush for him.

The sources said Lashker-e-Taiba's (LeT) Kashmir commander code-named "Furkan" has been frequently talking to its cadres in the Kashmir Valley using the VoIP technology.

"We are sometimes able to monitor it but the chances of missing the conversation cannot be ruled out because of mushrooming of VoIP service providers who use varying frequency," a senior official said.

The Union Home Ministry, in its observations on National Telecom Policy-12, had listed monitoring of VoIP as among the nine issues which needed to be addressed.

"Enabling and enforcement of VoIP facility, Ministry of Home Affairs and Law Enforcement Agencies should be consulted suitably at implementation stage," the MHA note said.

PTI

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