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How cells multiply and mutate

Some dealers issue many connections under the name of one, report Suman Layak and Venkatesh Ganesh.

india Updated: Jun 13, 2006 04:34 IST

You may be having a valid mobile connection, but don't be too sure that illegal connections have not been issued to others - even stalkers and criminals - under your name. Mahender Singh, a 24-year-old plumber in Haryana, learnt it the hard way.

In February, the police called him, saying he had made obscene calls to some girls in Gurgaon. A month later, he was accused of making threatening calls to a school principal in Hisar. It was the wrong number, he pleaded, none of the calls was made from the phone he carried. A complaint and a police investigation later, the truth was out: 17,000 Hutch connections were issued in Singh's name and using the documents he had submitted in 2005.

It is not just a Hutch problem. In Kaithal -- where the police are looking into large-scale irregularities following a survey by the DoT - 180 Airtel connections have been issued to one Raman Bansal. An FIR has been registered against Reliance Infocomm for issuing 536 connections to 15 people.

The modus operandi: a dealer gets hold of a genuine document and issues many connections. Even to criminals, said the police.

Navdeep Singh Virk, SP (Kaithal), said the cell-phone companies were not cooperating with the probe. Spokespersons of Hutch and Airtel said they were committed to following the rules and would cooperate with the authorities.

First Published: Jun 13, 2006 02:15 IST