Two Airtel Staff Arrested in SIM Card Scam


Mumbai, Aug 6: The cyber crime investigation cell (CCIC) of the Mumbai crime branch on Tuesday arrested two Airtel employees for their alleged involvement in a SIM card racket that cost the company Rs 30 lakh.

Pankaj Gupta, 21, a junior engineer and a resident of Lower Parel, and Chandrakant Suroliya, 23, a Bhayander resident working as retention officer with Airtel, were produced before a local court and remanded in police custody till August 14.

The CCIC unearthed the racket on Monday by arresting two persons - Imtiaz Abdullah Samnani, 20, and Ibrahim Hakimuddin Shaikh, 25. It found that SIM cards returned by customers disconnecting the company’s services were reactivated and used to make international calls.

“The telecom company had given Gupta a software that is used to activate new mobile numbers,” joint commissioner of police (crime) Rakesh Maria said. “His job was to visit various telecommunication galleries with the software, which he had saved in a pen drive,” Maria said.

Suroliya got the SIM cards returned by customers and gave them to Samnani, 20, and Shaikh, 25. The two then sold the SIM cards, which were used to make calls to the Gulf, Europe and the United States.

“Gupta would reactivate the SIM card numbers using the software,” Maria said.
The company detected the fraud at the time of preparing the bills. It realised that the calls were being made from SIM cards which were supposed to have been deactivated. The company then lodged a complaint with the CCIC on last Friday.

“The arrested persons have revealed that around 65 SIM cards were activated. But we suspect the number to be much more,” Maria said.

Asked if more arrests were likely, Maria said, “This is a huge racket. Those who have purchased these cards will also be arrested. Some of those who bought these cards have been identified, and efforts are on to arrest them.”


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Title: Two Airtel Staff Arrested in SIM Card Scam

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