The SIM card procured in Mumbai to send the threat email minutes after the recent Jama Masjid firing in New Delhi, has once again brought the issue under the spotlight.
On August 29, HT had reported on how the Mumbai police had traced 12,000 cell phone SIM cards procured using fake documents, raising serious security concerns.
Home Minister R R Patil has said the police will soon start a campaign against such fake SIM card documents, netting those who procure the cards as well as the dealers. “We have asked service providers to start large scale verification of documents submitted while giving out cards. The police will also undertake a similar campaign to seize fraudulently procured cards,’’ Patil said. He added that there would be an inquiry into how the accused managed to get their hands on so many fake documents.
He said the role of everyone in this supply chain — from service providers to retailers up to the footpath vendor — would be probed. “Companies will have to face a probe if they fail to follow procedure while handing out SIM cards. We have held a dialogue with these companies and they will be given a time-bound programme to conduct verification,’’ he added. Patil, however, admitted that banning SIM card sales by small vendors was not feasible and there was a limit to which one could keep an eye on technology.
He was speaking in the context of the recent threat email sent minutes after two men fired at tourists at Jama Masjid and was eventually traced to Mumbai. This mail was sent through a cell phone using a Tata Docomo SIM card bought in Mumbai using fake documents.
The recently nabbed German Bakery blast accused, Himayat Baig, and his accomplice, Shaikh Lalbaba Mohammed Hussain, had also managed to get SIM cards using fake documents. Baig allegedly had four voter IDs, blank caste certificates, driving licence and PAN card, among others documents.
Patil, however, refused to comment on the investigations saying he had authorised ATS chief Rakesh Maria to speak officially in the case. He added, “Maria is co-ordinating the investigations by various teams at Pune, Udgir, Nashik and Mumbai. Commenting on the case will only hamper investigations,’’ he added.