Visakhapatnam

Criminals find a ‘cheap’ way to stay off the police radar

The flooding of cheap Chinese make phones has made the task of police difficult.

The flooding of cheap Chinese make phones has made the task of police difficult.  

Begin using China-made cellphones, which they destroy later

It has always been a cat-and-mouse game between the criminal and the police. Many a time, the criminals found a way out to escape the law enforcement agencies when the police deciphered their modus operandi.

Till recently, the police were tracking criminals by their mobile phone location. Sensing the GPS tracking system, criminals started using multiple SIM cards. The police then tracked them through the IMEI (international mobile equipment identity) numbers, as every mobile has a unique IMEI number.

To get the police off their back, the criminals have now started using multiple phones. “Cheap variety phones of Chinese make are ubiquitous in the market. And this is making our job difficult. From petty criminals to rowdy-sheeters to flesh trade racketeers, they are using multiple phones and do not mind destroying them after their use,” said ACP of Commissioner’s Task Force I. Chittibabu.

Recently, in the murder case of rowdy-sheeter Kopperla Satyanarayana Raju alias Gedela Raju, the police forensic team extracted the remains of about nine cellphones from the spot, where the rowdy-sheeter’s body was found. Raju was allegedly killed by a nine-member gang reportedly hired by DSP Dasari Ravi Babu and Bhupathiraju Srinivasa Raju, editor and managing director of Telugu Daily Kshatriya Bheri, in October.

It is learnt that before the operation, the gang-members and others involved in the case including the DSP and Bhupathiraju, had purchased about 18 cellphones. Raju was hacked to death before his body was burnt at a remote place on the city outskirts and nine cellphones were dumped into the fire, apparently to destroy evidence. Only the charred remains were extracted.

Similarly, on December 31, the police arrested Palla Lokesh alias Puli, Shankar Goud alias Pilli Kallu Shankar, Gudlu Vinod Kumar and Ambati Madhusudan Rao, who were allegedly planning to kill a rowdy-sheeter Vinay. Along with a number of sharp-edged weapons, the police recovered a number of cheap cellphones, which they procured to communicate during the operation.

The police had a hunch about the possible attack and their cellphones were being tracked, but suddenly they went off the radar.

Switch to old system

After losing contact, the police switched to the old method of human surveillance and plotting the physical movement of the criminals. According to a senior police officer, Puli and Pilli Kallu Shankar was under surveillance.

“Shankar had gone to Berhampur to buy a couple of country-made pistols and failed in his attempt. He could procure one, but that malfunctioned. Thereafter, he went to Anakapalle and purchased nine lethal sharp-edged weapons and since then we put them on 24/7 surveillance,” said the officer.

The plan was to kill Vinay during the Christmas and New Year celebrations, and the police moved at the right time to arrest the gang and seize the weapons.

Though ultimately the police were able to checkmate the gangsters, their changing modus operandi is what is leaving the police baffled.

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Printable version | Jun 4, 2020 5:06:50 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Visakhapatnam/criminals-find-a-cheap-way-to-stay-off-the-police-radar/article22399588.ece

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