A day after the police raided several shops selling Chinese handsets at Gaffar Market — one of the biggest markets for unbranded and second-hand mobile phones in the country — boards came up in every nook and corner claiming to sell Chinese mobiles with genuine IMEI numbers.
Police claim the IMEI numbers can also be cloned. During the Gaffar market raid, police seized a software, Spiderman Box, which was being used to load fake IMEI numbers on mobile instruments that don’t have the unique identity number.
“We have seized a software- Spiderman Box that was being used to load fake IMEI numbers on these instruments,” said Neeraj Thakur, additional commissioner of police (crime).
In a late night raid on Wednesday, police seized over 3,500 such handsets and arrested 23 shopkeepers.
The government had banned the sale of these mobile phones as they do not have a unique identity number. Such handsets are a concern for national security, as the calls made from these phones cannot be traced.
“In the past five years, I have made lakhs of rupees by selling these phones. We are just buyers, the police should catch the real culprits — the importers. Everyone goes after the small fish, what about the real culprits?” alleged Rajeev Bhalla, who till a day ago was selling the banned mobile phones. He now claims to have replaced the stock with Chinese handsets with “genuine IMEI numbers.”
“These handsets that cost around Rs 2,000 each have all the features like any branded phone worth Rs 25,000. In a day we sell 50-60 units. This is a conspiracy to harass the middle class,” alleged Ishwar Jain, another mobile phone seller at Gaffar Market.
On Wednesday, a team of more than 100 policemen in plainclothes raided 23 shops at Ganpati Mobile Plaza in Gaffar and seized the handsets.
The raid followed registration of a case by Crime Branch on a complaint received from Indian Cellular Association (ICA). “We have taken these shopkeepers in custody. We are trying to trace the importers of these mobile phones,” said the police officer.