Telecom providers must cross-check customer details: police

Kolkata, Dec 8 (IANS) Telecom providers must cross-check the details of all their customers submitted by retailers before giving new connections, the police said Monday.

The Kolkata police held a meeting with chief executive officers (CEOs) of all telecom providers, including BSNL, Vodafone, Airtel, Aircel and Reliance, at the police headquarters at Lalbazar here where the caution was deliverd to them.

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Twenty-two illegal SIM cards of leading telecoms were recovered from Tausif Rehman and Mukhtar Ahmed, who were arrested Friday. The terrorists behind the recent Mumbai attack had used one of these SIMs.

“As a part of our investigation, we called the teleservice providers to Lalbazar Monday. In course of our conversation, we found that they don’t cross-check the details of customers submitted by retailers for new connections. They just see if the forms are properly filled or not,” Police Deputy Commissioner (detective department) Jawed Shamim told reporters Monday.

Shamim said the service providers have been alerted that if they continue their negligence in future, it will be regarded as a criminal offence.

“With SIM cards playing major roles in terror attacks, details of customers must not be taken lightly or overlooked. It’s the duty and responsibility of the respective telecom service providers and if they remain negligent regarding this matter in future, it will be taken as a criminal offence,” Shamim said.

Acting on a tip-off, the city police detained a Class-XII student Saturday night from Park Street area in south Kolkata with 10 illegal SIM cards. The boy used to purchase SIM cards against fake documents from various outlets across the city on behalf of Ahmed.

“We are interrogating the boy about Ahmed and his operations and hence can’t disclose more on this to the media,” Shamim said.

A 35-year-old Kashmiri Mukhtar Ahmed and 26-year-old Kolkata resident Tausif Rehman were nabbed Friday in a joint operation of the Kolkata Police’s detective department and the Special Task Force (STF).

The police said a SIM card recovered from a Mumbai attack site was one of the 22 Rehman sold to Ahmed a few months back.

All the 22 SIM cards were obtained fraudulently by Rehman. He used the voter identity card of his dead relative Asraf Numan to buy the cards from various local outlets in Kolkata, including some shops at Park Circus, Park Street, Beck Bagan and Beniapukur, police said.

Rehman, a resident of Tiljala area in eastern Kolkata, worked as a junior administrative staff in a local newspaper office a few years ago. He currently works for a travel agency.

Ahmed is said to be a resident of Rehanbari in Srinagar. He used to sell shawls in Kolkata, but had been working as an auto-rickshaw driver for the last one-and-a-half years, the police said.