After stumbling upon several cases of procuring SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) cards using fake documents, the police have blamed retail outlet suppliers for it.
The norms are flouted as the retail outlet suppliers of pre-paid SIM cards who do not bother to check the documents submitted to them before activating their cell phone.
Two months ago, the Mumbai police launched a drive to root out pre-paid SIM cards issued to people without proper documents as it posed security concerns.
“We have found that the retailers do not go through the proper procedure of checking the documents,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police (Operations), Rajkumar Vhatkar.
“Although the procedure for obtaining pre-paid SIM cards requires photo identity proof, retailers some times do not even bother to check if the photograph on the identity proof matches with the applicant’s face.”
The Hindustan Times had first reported on August 29, that 12,000 mobile SIM card numbers suspected of having been procured by submitting fake documents had been sent to the 90 police stations across the city for checking.
“The local police stations checked on the 12,000 pre-paid SIM card connections suspected to have been obtained by fake documents and within a span of one month (between August and September), 48 cases of forgery have been registered in which more than 60 retailers have been booked,” said Vhatkar.
Saying that 60% of the pre-paid SIM card connections had been obtained through fake documents, he added that they have registered cases only in those instances where there has been gross negligence.
“We have booked those retailers who have not checked any document,” he said.
According to joint commissioner of police (law and order), Rajneesh Seth the drive was successful. “The intention with which the drive was carried out has been fulfilled as we have managed to weed out those pre-paid connections that were not obtained through proper paperwork.” The drive was fruitful as earlier too criminals were found to have used SIM cards registered under fake names.
“In 95% of criminal cases, the accused use SIM cards registered under someone else’s name or through fake documents. We have busted several gangs in the past, in which we have found several SIM cards with them registered under fake names,” Vhatkar said.
Recently, a threat mail sent to a news channel in Delhi by alleged Indian Mujahideen (IM) operative through a bogus SIM card. The accused procured the SIM card using the details of a housewife from Borivli without her knowledge. The SIM card was bought from a retailer in Dadar who did not bother to check the details.
Security expert Vikas Verma said: “A fake SIM card in the wrong hands can have disastrous consequences. Even a bomb can be triggered using a mobile phone with a SIM card. The onus lies on the retailers who should be trained to ensure that they carefully check the documents before providing a SIM card.”