No one really is unaware of the dangers of selling SIM cards to individuals without submitting proper documents, especially after the recent spate of terror attacks. Now, in a revelation by a Hindustan Times report, an illegal prepaid SIM cards buying-selling nexus has been busted in the city with the arrest of a total of nine people, which incidentally also includes a senior official belonging to a prominent telecom company. Following a month-long investigation, the city police have uncovered what has been an extensive racket, wherein reportedly, several prepaid SIM cards were being sold to customers without the latter being asked to produce the necessary documents.
Is this just the tip of the iceberg? (Image credit: Getty Images)
In the raid that followed the investigation, hundreds of such activated prepaid SIM cards were recovered from the accused. Reports further suggest that those arrested were involved in a large-scale racket, wherein they would obtain SIM cards by using the photocopies of the documents, which were submitted to them by other genuine applicants; these would then be sold at a much higher price. Among the recovered goods, the Unit 7 of the crime branch also managed to seize 379 activated SIM cards, from different network providers, along with more than 550 forged documents.
Explaining the group's modus operandi, the Jt.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, include address proof, 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 to customers, charging them anywhere between Rs.400 to Rs.1,000. Anyone knowing even faintly about the cost of a SIM card in the market (Rs.25-Rs.40) would be able to comprehend the booty the accused managed to accumulate.
The report further quotes Joint commissioner of police, crime, Himanshu Roy as saying that all of the accused, which include Ravindra Gajanan Patil (24), Sunil Batawala (21), Ravindra Wagmode (20), Digambar Kole (34), Ravi Bhuje (23), Sunny Barati (27), Ganesh Shinde (22), Azad Chote Singh (22) were employed as salesmen by different service providers, while Aslam Islam Sheikh (33) worked as an assistant territory manager at the company office at Kurla. All of those arrested have now been charged with cheating and forgery.
Blowing the lid off a racket of this magnitude has only set the security alarms ringing loud, since the nation’s experience with multiple terror attacks has only taught it to not take issues, like these lightly. Not only are crucial details of a clueless, honest subscriber being exploited, but also the security of the nation is being compromised for some extra money.
For now, however, the TRAI has been informed about the entire episode and the regulatory body will now be expected to begin an inquiry.