Software engineer among 4 held for changing IMEIs of stolen phones

Indore: The police on Tuesday arrested four people including a software engineer who posed threat to country’s cyber security by changing International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) numbers of mobile phones. They were arrested from Hira Nagar area. An IMEI is a unique number given to every single mobile phone, found behind the battery.

One of the accused is a trader in Dollar Market at MG Road. The police are in search of 14 traders of city’s Dollar Market and Euro Market for their alleged involvement in such crimes.

Senior Superintendent of Police Ruchi Vardhan Mishra said team of Hira Nagar police station incharge Rajeev Singh Bhadoriya arrested Jitendra Rajput of Marimata area, Raju Singh Sengar of Gauri Nagar, Sanjay Patel of Rajaram Nagar and Bharat Waswani of Annapurna area.

Police received information that Raju changed IMEI number of mobile phones after which he was nabbed. Later, JItendra and Sanjay were arrested from a house in Rajaram Nagar where they were committing similar crime.

The gang used to change identity of mobile phones by changing IMEI for Rs 200 per device. Police have recovered 192 mobile phones from the accused and they are being questioned for other mobile phones.

TI Bhadoriya said that the accused used to take mobile phones from some traders of Dollar and Euro Market for changing their IMEIs for Rs 200 to 300 per device. Fourteen traders and shopkeepers or mobile repairers of the city were identified for involvement in the crime.

Police think that they had brought stolen, looted mobile phones from the city and other cities. The traders used to give the mobile phones to the accused to change their IMEIs. The traders identified are Amit Jodhani, Mohit alias Tinku Jodhani, Kamal Rajdev, Kapil Kalra, Kapil Kingrani, Kamal, Bharat Aswani, Girish Aswani, Dinesh Bajrani, Bharat Bajrani, Vicky Jha, Vijay alias Guddan, Vishal alias Vishnu and Rahul Veswani.

The mastermind of the gang is Jitendra who is a software engineer. Jitendra told police that he began changing IMEI after China-made mobile phone was corrupted. Then, he managed to generate the IMEI of that mobile phone. Since then, he committed such crime and was changing IMEIs of mobile phones for two years. Accused Raju and Sanju used to bring mobile phones from shops to change their IMEIs. So far the gang had changed IMEIs of about 4,000 mobile phones.

Police have recovered 192 mobile phones of various companies, dongles used in opening software, computer and CPU from the accused. Further investigation is underway. SSP Mishra has announced a reward of Rs 20,000 for the team, which arrested accused.

Security threat

According to Heera Nagar TI Bhadoriya, once the EMEI is changed, it is difficult for owner of original mobile phone to trace his or her lost or stolen phone. It is only though IMEI that one can identify the original owner of mobile phone.

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