THE STATE Police Headquarters (PHQ) has decided to put an end to issuing of mobile phone private numbers by the telecom companies due to security reasons and its possible misuse. And if at all private numbers were to be issued, they had to be authorised at the PHQ level and not by the district SP, as was being done at present.
Under the facility, when one got a ring on mobile from another mobile, and the screen, instead of showing the number of the caller, simply showed ‘Private Number’. One had to pay a little extra per month – around Rs 150. But no one minded. The telecom company got additional revenue and for the subscriber it was a status symbol. No more now.
Last month, at a meeting held at the PHQ, the officials of all mobile companies operating in Madhya Pradesh circle – Tata Infocomm Air Tel, Idea, Reliance and BSNL — were told to stop issuing new private numbers. They were told that an official order of the same would be issued to them in the near future. The meeting was presided over by DIG (Intelligence) Kailash Makwana.
Sources in the police and telecom companies said that while it is possible to trace the private numbers with the help of the company from which it has been issued, it is more time-consuming.
For instance, if anyone gets a threatening call on his/her mobile, the number gets displayed and the same can be traced within minutes in case of an emergency. But in case of a private number, first the call details of the person who received the threatening call has to be checked and then looking at the timing of the call, the ‘private number’ can be traced.
Talking to Hindustan Times, Makwana said that such a direction has been issued by the PHQ. Pressed for the reason, he said, “I do not want to discuss the pros and cons of the directive, but suffice to say that private numbers should not be issued due to security reasons.”
In Indore, SP Anshuman Yadav said the police have received such a directive and no new private numbers have been issued after that.