Sangma asks police to probe mobile SIM cards racket


Shillong : Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma has asked the police to probe the SIM card racket in the state, expressing concern about mobile phone connections falling into the hands of militants.

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“I have asked the district authorities to probe as to how SIM cards land up with militants who use them under fictitious names,” he said, after reviewing the law and order situation in the militancy-affected Garo Hills region of western Meghalaya Saturday.

Meghalaya Police busted a massive mobile phone SIM card racket spread across the state and Manipur and Nagaland as well, based on disclosures of an arrested top militant leader.

The racket was unearthed at Tura, the district headquarters of West Garo Hills, following information obtained from Novembirth Ch Marak, founder and general secretary of Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA), who was arrested May 15 from Siliguri railway station in West Bengal.

According to Marak, mobile phone agents operating in Tura arranged for pre-paid SIM cards from Dimapur in Nagaland and Manipur.

“They (agents) bring registered pre-paid SIM cards from Dimapur and Manipur and sell them to the people, violating all telecom norms,” a police officer told IANS.

The GNLA, which is fighting for a ‘sovereign Garoland’ in the western areas of Meghalaya, is headed by Champion R. Sangma, a rogue policeman. It had demanded extortion money ranging from Rs.5 lakh to Rs.1 crore from various people through mobile text messages.

The messages were sent to politicians, government officials, petrol pump owners, coal dealers and businessmen in the coal-rich Garo Hills area.

The GNLA, operating in three Garo Hills districts in the western part of Meghalaya, maintains links with the National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Isak-Muivah (NSCN-IM), United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) and National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB).