Court orders trial in illegal tele exchange case

Delhi court has ordered trial of a man for allegedly running an illegal telephone exchange causing loss of over Rs two crore to the public exchequer.

New Delhi: A Delhi court has ordered trial
of a man for allegedly running an illegal telephone exchange
to mask international calls as local ones and causing loss of
over Rs two crore to the public exchequer.

Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ) Narinder Kumar upheld the
magisterial court`s order on framing of charges against Naveen
Grover for cheating and violating provisions of the Indian
Telegraph Act on maintaining and using unauthorized
telegraphs.

"From the material available on record, prima facie it
appears that by receiving and switching international calls on
the lines obtained from the complainant and others (service
providers), Grover used to run a telegraph, otherwise, than as
permitted by law. Therefore, prima facie he made himself
liable for offences punishable under the act," the ASJ said.

The FIR against Grover was lodged in 2004 on a complaint
by Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd (VSNL) vigilance manager to the
Special Cell of Delhi Police.

VSNL was renamed as Tata
Communications Ltd after Tata Group acquired a controlling
stake in it from the government in February 2008.

A separate vigilance report by the Department of
Telecommunications (DoT) had stated that Grover had caused a
total loss of Rs 2.13 crore to the exchequer.

The magisterail court had framed charges against Grover
and put him on trial in October 2009 but the same had been
challenged by Grover in the sessions court.

Grover had argued that no charges of cheating or breach of
the Indian Telegraph Act was made out against him.

The prosecution, however, defended the charges levelled
against him. Moreover, it said, another section of the Act
dealing with `intentionally damaging or tampering with
telegraphs` is also attracted against Grover.

On prosecutor`s allegation that Grover also damaged and
tampered with telegraphs, the sessions court said the
additional charge of violating Section 25 of Indian Telegraph
Act by tampering with telegraphs, could be added by the trial
court on a plea by the police.

"Having regard to provision of Section 216 CrPC (court`s
power to alter charges) state shall be at liberty to make
application and trial court shall also be at liberty to
consider such prayer for alteration of charge so as to add
provisions of Section 25 of Indian Telegraph Act," the ASJ
said.

The sessions court, however, held that no case of `breach
of condition of (telegraph) license` is made out against
Grover as he used to run telegraph without any permission.

The court also directed Grover to appear before the
magistrate court to face trial.

The trial court had held that prima facie it appeared
that Grover was running an illegal telephone exchange at his
premises in Delhi and Gurgaon.

Grover ran his business in the name of ACE Polyvaricon
Electronics Pvt Ltd and applied for telephone connections from
various service providers including Reliance, Dishnet, DSL,
MTNL and BSNL without disclosing that the connections could be
used for the purpose of running illegal telephone exchanges,
the magistrate had said.

There have been several cases across the country, of
`masking` of international calls as local ones to avoid paying
revenue to the government.

In few of these cases, top officials of several telecom companies have also been booked.

PTI

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