Satellite phone calls again tracked in K’taka, agencies on high alert

BENGALERU: Intelligence agencies have alerted the Karnataka government after tracking satellite phone calls made to foreign destinations from coastal areas of the state and Malnad, sources said on Monday.

Three calls were detected in the thick forests of these regions between May 23 and May 29, the sources said.

Two calls were tracked to locations near Mangaluru in Dakshina Kannada district, Chikkamagalur and Uttara Kannada jungles by central intelligence agencies.

The sleuths of the Division of Homeland Security (DSI) went to the scene and launched an investigation.

Preliminary results suggested that the satellite phone calls were made from four locations in 10 days. Agencies are tracking people who have used the banned satellite phones.

Sources explained that this is the third time that satellite phones have been used this year in the coastal and Malnad regions.

Central agencies alerted the State Police Department to these developments.

This time the satellite phone signals came from the forest between the towns of Yallapur and Sirsi in Uttara Kannada; Natekal, Kulai areas on the outskirts of Mangaluru town; and the jungles between the towns of Kadur-Birur in Chikkamaglur, the sources said.

Previously, phone calls were tracked as far as Mudibidre in Mudipu areas of Dakshina Kannada; in dense forest regions of Uttara Kannada; and two other locations in Chikkamagalur.

Since terrorist activities targeting civilians were reported in Jammu and Kashmir, central agencies have told their counterparts and the authorities in Karnataka to be vigilant as the situation develops.

Central agencies have gathered information on alleged anti-national activities taking place in the coastal districts of Dakshina Kannada, Uttara Kannada and Udupi; and Chikkamaglur and Shivamogga districts in Malnad region.

The issue of the use of banned satellite phones was raised during the National Assembly session last year and Interior Minister Araga Jnanendra made detailed statements that the government is handling the situation in coordination with central agencies, including the Bureau of Intelligence (IB) and research and analysis. Wing (R&AW).

Intelligence agencies suspect and verify whether anti-national forces are activating sleeper cells in the state.

The phone calls went through despite intelligence agencies being on high alert in the state.

Jnanendra had told the House floor that there were 256 instances of satellite phone use in 2020 and 220 in 2021, which were tracked overseas.

After the attacks of 26/11 in Mumbai, the use of satellite phones was banned by the Directorate General of Navigation.

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