Five members belonging to alleged terrorist outfits, Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), and the Indian Mujahideen managed to get SIM cards issued on fake identity proof, reports Telecom Tiger. Following arrests of the five members in Bhopal and Jabalpur last year, Vodafone, Bharti Airtel, Tata, Reliance, and Idea have come under the stern eye of the Madhya Pradesh Anti-Terror Squad (ATS).
The five popular telecom operators now face the music for not following pre-set norms when issuing SIM cards. The ATS has now sought legal action against the five telcos in a recent letter to the Telecom Enforcement, Resource and Monitoring (TERM) Cell, Bhopal.
Airtel, Idea, Vodafone, Tata and Reliance face the music (Image credit: Getty Images)
No one is unaware of the dangers of selling SIM cards to individuals who do not submit proper identification documents. In March, prepaid SIM card nexus had been busted in Mumbai followed by the arrest of a total of nine people, including a senior official belonging to a prominent telecom company. After a month-long investigation, the city police uncovered an extensive racket, wherein several prepaid SIM cards were being sold to customers without taking the necessary documents from them.
In a raid that followed the investigation, hundreds of activated prepaid SIM cards were recovered from the accused. Those arrested were involved in a large-scale racket, wherein they would obtain SIM cards by using the photocopies of the documents submitted to them by genuine applicants. These SIM cards would then be sold at a much higher price. Among the recovered goods, the Unit 7 of the crime branch seized 379 activated SIM cards, from different network providers, and more than 550 forged documents.
Explaining the group's modus operandi, the Joint Commissioner added that the accused would take several photocopies of the documents submitted to them by genuine applicants while availing a SIM card. These documents included proof of address, photographs, passport or PAN card copies, which qualify as the identity proof of the applicant. The accused would also scan the photographs of the genuine applicants. Armed well with these documents, the accused would then get multiple SIM cards issued from their respective workplaces. Simply put, plainly based on the credentials of one genuine applicant, hundreds of SIM cards would be obtained. They would then sell off these SIM cards at prices between Rs 400 and Rs 1,000. The cost of a regular SIM card in the market is between Rs 25 and Rs 40.