Mobile Shop Owners Booked for Issuing Forged SIM Cards with Same Photographs, Different Names

Mobile Shop Owners Booked for Issuing Forged SIM Cards with Same Photographs, Different Names

VI discovered that from three shops, more than 120 SIMs had been issued to people with different Aadhar card numbers but with the same photographs.

Aishwarya IyerUpdated: Thursday, October 19, 2023, 12:26 AM IST
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Mobile Shop Owners Booked for Issuing Forged SIM Cards with Same Photographs, Different Names | representational pic

Mumbai: Two mobile shop owners were booked by the Matunga police on Tuesday for allegedly issuing SIM cards based on forged documents in the names of different people but using the photograph of a single person. This was first brought to the attention of Vodafone-Idea (VI) officials by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), after which VI registered an FIR against the dealers.

In April, DoT noticed that the photographs of the customers to whom the SIMs were issued were all the same, but the names and Aadhar Card numbers used were different. They alerted VI about this discrepancy. Following an internal inquiry, VI discovered that from three shops, more than 120 SIMs had been issued to people with different Aadhar card numbers but with the same photographs. VI then approached the police and filed an FIR against the three shops, managed by two owners, located in the Matunga and Dadar areas.

Motive behind fraud

A team led by senior police inspector Deepak Chavan and led by PSI Mahesh Lad was formed to investigate the matter. They later found out that the motive behind this type of cheating was the agents' 'target supply' and to 'gain incentives.' According to Lad, all the issued SIM cards are not older than three months. "They are given targets to achieve by distributors. Every team manager has at least 30 shops under them, and these managers appoint promoters for sales purposes. By completing the targets, these promoters receive an incentive, say Rs. 2,000 or so. This is when they choose the wrong way to meet their targets for quick cash," he explained.

During the investigation, the police obtained the Subscriber Details Record (SDR) and Call Details Record (CDR) of these SIM cards issued under forged documents to check for any criminal activity or misuse by the users, but they found nothing.

Lad emphasized that buyers should ensure they are purchasing SIM cards through legitimate and legal means only. "They should provide their Aadhar Card and get the SIM card activated then and there at the shop, or in front of the dealer. Once that is done, if a Xerox copy of the Aadhar is provided, the user should cancel it out so it's not reused by anyone. If sent via mobile phone in image format, the user should ensure it's deleted by the dealer," he explained.

In this case, two accused have been booked. They are identified as Bhavin, who owns two shops named Bhavin Collection in Matunga East and Badariya MobileStore in Dadar East. The second accused is Veeramani Nadar, who runs a shop named Tambi Communication in Matunga East. Both of them have been sent notices under section 41A of CrPc by the police to join the investigation. The case includes charges under sections 420 (cheating), 406 (criminal breach of trust), and 465 (forgery).

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