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SIM card fraud: SIA raids 11 locations in Kashmir | India News

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SRINAGAR: J&K State Investigation Agency (SIA) on Saturday raided 11 locations in Kashmir Valley in connection with the increasing misuse of SIM cards by terrorists and their associates, narcotics smugglers, and other criminals.
Incriminating material including 20 mobile phones, 37 SIM cards, five laptops, three hard drives, one pen drive, an external hard disk, a router, six stamps, 48 documents, six registers and 15 photographs, etc., were seized during the operation.
“A majority of the premises belonged to Point of Sale (PoS) vendors who sold these cards in violation of Department of Telecom regulations and in a manner that amounts to forgery and cheating,” SIA said in a statement.
In three cases, the agency said, preliminary evidence strongly indicated that the SIM cards were procured to help terrorists communicate with their handlers across the border and other modules inside J&K. For example, one PoS vendor in Kulgam’s Chawalgam under the name M/S Airtel Micro World issued a SIM card against a fictitious person namely Gowhar Ahmad Hajam and gave the SIM card to a person in Kulgam’s Qaimoh who turned out to be an overground worker of Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind.
In another case, the SIA said, a PoS vendor of Anantnag’s Mir Mohalla Monghall created a SIM card for a subscriber who handed it over to an overground worker of Hizbul Mujahideen. “The houses of all the three (the vendor, the subscriber and the OGW) were searched to look for additional evidence,” stated the agency.
In a third case, four POS vendors — one from Pampore’s Konibal Walina, another from Budgam’s Ichgam, the third one from Srinagar’s Barzullah and the fourth from Lasjan — created SIM cards in the name of citizens by stealing their identity and misusing their documents, and provided them to unauthorized persons without the knowledge of the original subscribers.
The government has decided to take stringent measures against PoS vendors indulging in identity theft of unsuspecting subscribers and creating SIM cards in their names without their knowledge, the SIA said. “Vendors found creating SIM cards based on forged documents in the name of fictitious persons will also be dealt with strictly,” the agency said.
Stern action will be taken against vendors and subscribers obtaining more than six SIM cards — the maximum number of SIM cards permissible for a person to have. “PoS vendors and individual subscribers who voluntarily come to the police station and surrender their excess SIM cards (more than six) would escape criminal liability,” said a senior police officer.
Telecom service providers have been directed to maintain a proper database to prevent dishonest PoS vendors and subscribers from cheating the system by not disclosing their already-issued SIM cards obtained from other service providers at the time of applying for additional SIM cards. “The government is also mulling making it illegal for a subscriber to willingly give their SIM card to a person other than a family member for occasional and emergency use,” the SIA said.
Vendors who have issued SIM cards in different names using the photo ID of the same person are also likely to be searched, and if found guilty, they will be arrested besides being blacklisted from all government benefits and contracts, said the officer, adding that further investigation was under way.

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