Mumbai: In what is perhaps the largest haul in the city, officers of the Crime Branch and Dongri police arrested a man in possession of 4,931 SIM cards on Wednesday night from a house at Sayed Manzil in Dongri, South Mumbai. With the arrest of the 24-year-old-man, the police recovered around 4,900 'khacha' SIM cards that were procured using false and forged documents. The cops are investigating if any more people are involved in the scam.
Mohammad Asim Razak Turk was arrested and the police have registered cases of cheating and forgery against him. Initial investigations suggest the collusion of telecom company employees and certain mobile phone dealers. They also estimate that the accused made Rs 4 lakh through this devious racket.
"It's a truly innovative way of raking in money by Razak. We suspect this brazen case involves many people," said Manohar Dalvi, deputy police commissioner (operations).
Razak had designed an ingenious way to make money. As he previously worked as a mobile dealer, he was familiar with the intricacy of the mobile business. Approaching cell phone dealer shops, he would request them to hand over application forms of mobile subscribers for a fee. At any given time dealers have a few hundred forms, along with identification proof, with them. Some of which are rejected application forms.
"Razak had procured around 320 documents illegally from one of the mobile dealers in Dongri and he paid Rs 3 per form to the dealer," said Rakesh Sharma, senior inspector of Crime Branch (Control Unit). "He then made photocopies of the forms, changing photographs in some forms, and applied for 5,000 SIM cards of various telecom companies," added Sharma.
After receiving the SIM cards, he activated them with a low top-up of Rs 10, as it is a mandatory requirement to activate the new SIM card. He would then wait for three months before unleashing his masterstroke.
"Razzak started contacting several mobile company agents and informed them that he had around 5,000 SIM cards. He told them that he wanted to port the mobile numbers on to their network. He also mentioned that he would take a cut from each number ported," said Sharma.
Sensing a business opportunity for their respective telecom companies, agents complied. After calling their area managers and getting approval, they negotiated with Razak. "The agents promised Razak Rs 80 per SIM card to transfer his number onto their network. He earned Rs 4,00,000 from the transaction," added Sharma.
"We suspect some employees from mobile companies are involved in this scam. Also we cannot rule out that some of these cards may have been used for terror activities. We are investigating the matter," said Sharma.