Mumbai: 60% of prepaid SIMs procured using fake docs

In an astonishing revelation, city police in a survey have found that 60 percent of prepaid SIM cards were procured using fake documents.

Updated: Oct 03, 2010, 11:14 AM IST

Mumbai: In an astonishing revelation, city police in a survey have found that 60 percent of prepaid SIM cards were procured using fake documents here.

Besides, mobile service providers, the city police held vendors equally responsible for providing prepaid SIM cards without proper verification and cracked down on them,
prompting several shops in city and suburbs to put up a notice saying "Sim Cards Not Available."

The police drive comes days after an email purportedly sent by the banned outfit Indian Mujahideen owning up the responsibility for the attacks outside the historic Jama
Masjid in the national capital.

Internet connection of a mobile phone that had Tata Doccomo SIM card was used to send the email soon after the attacks outside the Jama Masjid. It was not clear if either
prepaid or post-paid SIM card was used to send the mail.

"It is worrying to find out that 60 per cent of the 15,000 prepaid SIM cards were issued by vendors without proper verification of documents. We have randomly taken up 15000
prepaid SIM card details and when our men verified them, this startling revelation has come to their notice," Mumbai Police Commissioner Sanjeev Dayal told a news agency.

"With a target to sell more prepaid SIM cards and entail commission, the vendors cannot put the norms at bay. They should verify the addresses and other documents provided
by the card seekers," he added.

"The mobile service providers have also been asked to verify the documents of SIM card seekers properly," the top police official Dayal said.

Last month two unidentified motorcycle-borne attackers had shot and injured two Taiwanese nationals outside Jama Masjid which was followed by a crude pressure cooker bomb blast in a car in the same area.

The IM claimed responsibility for the attack in the email sent to PTI and some other news organisations and threatened terror strikes during the Games.

Based on the description given by a dealer in central Mumbai from where the SIM card was procured and used to sent the email, the ATS and Crime Branch have also prepared several sketches.

According to the dealer, a youth in his mid-twenties, procured two SIM cards in the name of women using forged documents.

But the vendors shifted the responsibility on mobile service providers saying that it was the latter`s job to check the authenticity of personal details and address given by the
SIM card seekers.

"The service providers should verify the documents and their executives should be sent to the addresses to check the authenticity," said a vendor, who owns an electronics shop in
Agripada.

"When a person comes to us ask for SIM card we collect all required documents and submit them to the concerned mobile service provider. They should be verify the details before activating the SIM card," said the vendor who stopped selling SIM cards and put up a notice saying "Sim Cards Not Available."

They get only two percent from selling Sim cards. How could the service providers or the police expect them to verify documents for prepaid Sim cards? asked another vendor
at Crawford Market.

PTI