Mumbai: In a major operation, multiple station houses of Mumbai Police in collaboration with the Department of Telecom have busted a huge racket of 2,197 fake mobile SIM cards issued in single names and arrested 13 people, top officials said here on Saturday.
The Mumbai Police probe is part of a nationwide campaign by the DoT which has detected and cancelled at least 30 lakh (3 million) such fake cards that were in operation.
Joint Commissioner of Police Satyanarayan Chaudhary said that the DoT had tipped off the Mumbai Police on several suspicious SIM cards in operation with the help of their supercomputers, and investigations were launched simultaneously by five police stations.
They are V.P. Road, Malabar Hill, D.B. Marg, Sahar, and Bangurnagar police stations, which formed multiple teams to investigate the locations from where such fake SIM cards on single identity were issued.
These unauthorised SIM cards are used by fake call centres, bookies, cyber-criminals, sex-racketeers, and others indulging in nefarious activities, police said.
Chaudhary said that during the probe, five cases have been registered in Mumbai and 13 accused have been arrested so far.
Besides, there are an estimated 62 people in Mumbai alone, in whose names a staggering 8,500 SIM cards have been issued by mobile companies using their photos.
In most cases, hundreds of fake SIMs were cleared using one person's photos clicked from different angles, which were then sold out to unauthorised persons who used them for various illegal activities, the probe revealed.
During the probe, the sleuths detected and raided a fake call centre in Mira Road, Thane, from where they seized 52 fake SIMs.
V.P. Road Police nabbed one Vishal Shinde, in whose name there are 378 SIM cards, while D.B. Marge Police have arrested one Abdul Shaikh having 190 SIM cards with his picture on the documents.
The Malabar Hill Police have swooped on the alleged mastermind, one Abdul Mansoori, who had issued 685 SIMs under his photo.
Chaudhary said that as per the DoT, Mumbai has over 30,000 fake SIMs in operation, which are now being investigated.
The DoT has already found around 3 million such fake SIMs being operated all over India, which have now been stopped, he added.