The Mumbai police have tracked down at least 12,000 cell phone SIM cards procured using fake documents, posing serious security concerns in a city already on the terror radar.
The 10 Lashkar-e-Tayyaba operatives, who executed the November 26, 2008, terror attacks in Mumbai, had used SIM [Subscriber Identity Module] cards procured in a similar fashion to stay in touch with their handlers who directed them throughout the attack.
Commissioner of Police Sanjeev Dayal told Hindustan Times that 12,000 fraudulently procured mobile numbers are posing a grave threat.
“With this crackdown [on fraudulent connections], we want to make mobile service providers aware of the security concerns such mobile users could pose,” Dayal said.
Each of Mumbai’s 90 police stations has been asked to identify, verify and interrogate individuals behind each of these 12,000 numbers. This will become a regular feature to ensure mobile service providers follow a stringent system of verifying an applicant’s credentials before issuing a mobile SIM card, Dayal said.
Rajnish Seth, joint commissioner of police (law and order), said, “We want to ensure that the name, address and mobile numbers of people in the service providers’ database are genuine.”
The drive started at Mahim police station two weeks ago, after the city police headquarters sent the Mahim police a list of 75 mobile numbers suspected to have been illegally procured.
The Mahim police investigated these cases and narrowed down the list of suspect cases to 44. They will interrogate these people, who had procured SIM cards either on fake documents or on someone else’s address.
A police inspector from Mahim police station, on condition of anonymity because he is not authorised to speak to the media, said, “There are several instances in which some employees of cell phone service providers, in connivance with retailers, allot SIM cards on fake documents or addresses to earn an additional Rs 50 or Rs 100.”