Other States

Man arrested for supplying pre-activated SIM cards

Police say they recovered 205 pre-activated SIM cards from accused Ankush Khandelwal.Photo: Special Arrangement  

Days after a Pakistani Intelligence Operative (PIO) was understood to be using a phone number issued in Delhi, the police have arrested a 28-year-old man who allegedly sold pre-activated SIM cards in the national Capital.

A Crime Branch team stumbled upon the racket while investigating how the Pakistani man had got a Delhi Vodafone number.

According to police, 205 pre-activated SIM cards were recovered from accused Ankush Khandelwal. Several fake or forged voter identity cards and 28 Customer Acquisition Forms (CAFs) were also seized from him.

The Crime Branch began probing the pre-activated SIM card racket after the recent espionage case came to light. It was during this probe that the police learnt that the number used by the PIO at the Indo-Pak border to contact his agents in India was issued in Delhi based on fake identity cards.

Five persons have already been arrested for allegedly providing confidential information to Pakistan-based agencies.

An inter-state cell led by ACP K.P.S. Malhotra, under the supervision of DCP Bhisham Singh, was constituted to crack down on these rackets.

Ankush was arrested after the police received a tip-off about his involvement in selling SIM cards procured on fake ID cards.

“Ankush was selling such SIM cards to individuals as well as to retailers. You just had to pay him Rs. 500 and obtain an already-activated SIM card without having to fill any forms or revealing your identity,” said Ravindra Yadav, Joint CP (Crime).

Police said SIM cards obtained without furnishing any identity proof pose a “grave threat” to national security. However, Ankush’s interrogation so far has reportedly not suggested any link with the PIO or others arrested in the espionage case.

“We are yet to establish whether the espionage suspects were helped by the SIM cards Ankush supplied. Even if they were, it is unlikely Ankush was aware about the end-use of the SIM cards,” said an investigator.

A native of Alwar in Rajasthan, Ankush holds a master’s degree in political science from Rajasthan University. Investigations in the case are on, said police.

The Crime Branch began probing the SIM card racket after the recent espionage case came to light

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Printable version | Jan 29, 2022 5:26:29 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/Man-arrested-for-supplying-pre-activated-SIM-cards/article13974255.ece

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