Investigators probing the case in which a man allegedly used fake identity documents to obtain 2,173 SIM cards have asked two cellular service providers to provide them with lists of those SIM cards which are now in use. Police officers say they cannot rule out the possibility that the SIM cards are being used by criminals.
Sharif Haneef Khan, 30, who was arrested by the Trombay police last week, has been in touch with international hackers, police officers have said. “Investigations have revealed he was chatting online with international hackers. We are investigating his intentions,” said Dhananjay Kulkarni, Mumbai police spokesperson.
Khan, a resident of Cheetah Camp area, came under the scanner after the police received information of his online activities, following which he was picked up for questioning.
Subsequently, two managers of mobile service providers – identified as Ameen Vats alias Sharma, 29, and Dharmendra Bangari, 31 – were also arrested.
The police had earlier said Khan surfed the Internet and took photographs and other information from Aadhar, PAN and election cards that had been uploaded on government websites. He then got fake identity cards made with fictitious information, providing them as identity proof to Sharma and Bangari, and procured the SIM cards from them.
“We are investigating to find out which people got the cards that were given by Sharma and Bangari. Investigations are on to find out if any anti-social elements procured the cards. We have written to two service providers, seeking details about the users,” said a high-ranking police officer who is privy to the investigation.
Police sources have prima facie ruled out the involvement of terror outfits and say that Khan was primarily a hacker. Police said Khan’s wife also visited Saudi Arabia, and are in the process of investigating why she went there.
Police officers said Khan would keep the SIM cards with him until they were activated, to avoid getting caught. He would sell the activated cards at rates cheaper than the market rates and would earn a commission of Rs 85 on each card.