Over 1.8 lakh SIM cards have been blocked in Punjab under a crackdown launched by the state police against distributors selling SIM cards on the basis of forged identification (ID) cards.
Director General of Police (DGP) Punjab Gaurav Yadav on Thursday said that stern action is also being initiated against Point of Sales (PoS) distributors and other persons involved in issuing SIM cards on fake IDs.
Police teams have arrested 17 such persons, who were found indulged in sale of SIM cards on fake documents, besides, registering 52 first information reports (FIRs) under sections 420, 465, 467 and 471 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) across state in the last three days, he added.
An official spokesperson said the Internal Security wing of Punjab Police in association with Department of Telecom (DoT) has begun an aggressive crackdown against agents indulged in selling SIM cards on fake identities as majority of cyber-crimes and anti-national acts are being carried out using mobile numbers subscribed on false documents or in third parties’ names.
Special DGP, Internal Security, RN Dhoke said that he held multiple meetings with DoT and Telecom Service Providers before the action started against persons involved in issuing SIM cards on fake IDs.
He said Inspector General of Police (IGP) Counter Intelligence Rakesh Agrawal has been made nodal officer in this regard and drive is on to further identify the SIM cards issued on fake IDs. He said in one case as many as 500 SIM cards have been issued with the same photograph but in different names by forging the documents.
The Special DGP also warned retailers across Punjab of stern action for failing to comply with the Know Your Customer (KYC) norms, a lapse that resulted in the activation of thousands of SIM cards fraudulently.
“Special teams of the Counter Intelligence Wing have been coordinating with the district police to zero in on SIM card retailers, who activated different mobile phone numbers with the same proof of identity,” he said, while adding that they are also taking up the matter with the Telecom Authorities to blacklist such agents.
Police are further investigating the actual user of these SIM cards issued on fake IDs of the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana.