The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Trio in net for smut calls

Five friends from well-to-do families were looking for some fun. After slogging in office and university, they met for an hour from 10 pm to “unwind.’’

So, they dialled cellular numbers at random from a mobile phone given to one of them by his employers for “making official calls’’.

But luck ran out for them on Wednesday when the police tracked them down and arrested three of them on charges of making obscene calls on the cellphone of the wife of a senior partner of a chartered accountancy firm. She lives in Salt Lake.

They have been booked under Sections 507 and 509 of the Indian Penal Code for making “anonymous threats and outraging modesty on phone’’.

Three of them were detained and later set free in the evening with a warning, additional superintendent of police, Salt Lake, Ajay Nand, said.

Police said the five friends are neighbours on CIT Road, in Kankurgachhi. One worked in a scrap iron-dealer’s office in central Calcutta. His job was to identify iron scrap for sale in the city and negotiate on behalf of the company.

He was given a cellphone about a month ago for “making official calls, as he had to travel a lot in the city’’.

The cellular phone was registered in the company’s name with a private mobile company. Nand said the youths dialled numbers “at random’’. The cellular card is in a plan in which outgoing calls are free from 10 pm to 8 am.

“If a man answered the call, they would abuse him and hang up. They spouted obscenities if a woman answered,’’ Nand said.

On Sunday night, they dialled a number which was answered by the wife of the partner of the chartered accountancy firm.

“They used obscene language. She took fright and informed her husband. He returned the call from their home telephone. One of the youth answered the call, abused him and disconnected,’’ Nand said.

The peeved senior executive initially asked his secretary to trace the call. On Monday evening, the mobile company informed the senior partner’s office that the number was registered in the company’s name.

The senior partner, on his own, called up the traced cellular number several times to find out details.

After a few such calls, the employee using the cellphone got scared and tried to wriggle out of the situation by identifying himself as S.K. Barua, a man from Assam, and offered to apologise for the “wrong-doing’’. Police said the employee typed out an apology in Barua’s name and faxed it to the senior partner’s office. But the director became suspicious and filed a complaint with Bidhannagar police.

“We got transcripts of the calls from the mobile company and summoned the owner of the scrap-iron firm. He said the cellphone had been allotted to his employee for official use. We picked up the youth and his friends late on Tuesday night,’’ Nand said. They broke down during interrogation and admitted to their prank.

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