Three people, including two managers of a private telecom company, have been arrested for procuring SIM cards on the basis of fake identities, police said today. Sharif Haneef Khan, 26, a SIM card distributor was found to be in touch with unscrupulous elements abroad, was held from suburban Trombay last night, while the two others, Atin Vats, 29, and Dharmendra Bangaari, 31, Territory Channel Sale Managers at a telecom company, were arrested today from their residences here, police said.
The trio was produced before a court today, which remanded them in police custody till February 4. Joint Commissioner of Police (Law & Order) Dhananjay Kamalakar said, "Khan was involved in preparing fake identity documents such as Aadhaar and voting cards, and using them to procure prepaid SIM cards with the help of Vats and Bangaari."
"A total of 1,777 activated prepaid SIM cards and 393 non-activated ones were seized from Khan. We suspect Khan, who has been into this illegal activity for the past six months, might have procured nearly 10,000 SIM cards so far and circulated in the market," Kamalakar said.
So far, involvement of the three officials has emerged in the crime, Kamalakar said, adding some more arrests are likely. The exact role of these officials in the racket is being ascertained, the IPS officer said.
During the probe, Khan was found to be in touch with certain people, suspected to be anti-national elements, in Indonesia, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Tunisia, police said. "Khan had been communicating with these people through emails and Facebook chats," said another officer, but did not give details about nature of the conversation.
With indications that the gang's operations were spread across various countries, a special team consisting of officials of Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad, Mumbai Police Cyber cell, Crime Branch and local police has been set up to probe deeper, he said. Police said Khan came in contact with Vats and Bangaari some months ago.