Odisha Police bust inter state SIM card racket, 6 held

Bhubaneswar, Sep 14 : The crime branch of Odisha Police busted an inter-state pre-activated SIM card racket and arrested six persons including the mastermind from Khunta area in Mayurbhanj district, a police officer said on Wednesday. Speaking to reporters, crime branch IG, Amitendra Nath Sinha, said the accused were identified as Vishal Khandelwal, who was the mastermind, Tapan Kumar Patra, Ajay Kumar Patra, Nigam Patra, Sudhansu Das and Aju Patra. The arrest was made based on a complaint filed by the Department of Tele Communications, Ministry of Communications, on Monday, he said. Soon after receiving the complaint, the Odisha crime branch formed a special team, which busted the racket conducting raids in a remote area in Mayurbhanj district despite heavy rainfall, informed the IG. Sinha said that the police seized two SIM card boxes (machine-based numbers) used to defraud people in various parts of the country. It has also seized over 2,500 SIM cards of Airtel, Jio, Vodafone and BSNL telecom companies along with seven laptops, around 20 mobile phones, bank passbooks, Jio routers and other articles. The seized SIM cards included 1,049 of Airtel, 1,231 of Jio, 158 of Vodafone, 134 cards of BSNL company, he said. The IG further said the criminals were operating their network in Khunta forest area and cheating people by sending fake KYC suspension and SIM card block messages to the people to defraud people. He said police would bring them on remand for interrogation. Though it was not yet clear from where the accused were bringing the SIM cards, the accused however said they sourced it from Chennai, he stated. Investigation is on to find out if more people are involved in the racket. Huge number of MTNL KYC fraud SMSes are being generated from these SIM boxes and mobile numbers are operating in Bihar and Odisha, the police official said. The team initially apprehended one Tapas Kumar Patra and subsequently others after interrogating him. Informing about their modous operandi, the police officer said, Vishal Khandelwal @ Jonti who is the mastermind behind this crime had procured SIM box and engaged Tapas Kumar Patra for sending messages by using pre-activated SIMs being supplied by Sudhansu Das, Nigam Patra. They were circulating 100s of fake messages every day. After a few months, Tapas Patra engaged other accused persons namely Aju Patra and Ajay Kumar Patra in the crime, he added. /IANS


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