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Bihar Police intensifies crackdown on sale of SIM cards through illegal means

Bihar Police have intensified crackdown on sale of SIM cards through unethical and illegal means in the state following the blacklisting of 2,387 selling points on the instructions of the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), an official said.

The DoT has also deactivated more than 5,000 mobile phone numbers in Bihar and Jharkhand in the last one week as majority of the SIM cards were allegedly procured through illegal means.

A statement issued by the Special Director General Telecom, DoT (Licensed Service Areas-LSA-Bihar) here on Thursday said, “In the past one week, more than 5,000 mobile numbers have been deactivated in Bihar and Jharkhand. The majority of the SIM cards were procured through illegal/unethical means.

“Besides, 2,387 Point of Sales (PoS) of SIM cards have been blacklisted by the telecom service providers on the instructions of the DoT in the last one week as they were found to be involved in unethical and illegal practices while issuing SIM cards. The Telecom Service Providers are further initiating legal proceedings against the fraudulent PoS as well as subscribers”.

Jharkhand also comes under the jurisdiction of DoT’s LSA (Bihar).

Talking to PTI, Additional Director General (ADG) of the Economic Offences Unit (EOU) of the Bihar Police, Nayyar Hasnain Khan, on Thursday said the latest action taken reports of the DoT are being analyzed by the EOU for further initiating legal action against the violators.

Bihar Police have already given instructions to Superintendents of Police (SP) of all districts to ensure strict enforcement of ‘mandatory SIM-card registration’ rules by retail dealers and telecommunications companies in their respective areas of jurisdiction. Now the police action has been intensified to check use of SIM cards, procured through fake documents, by cyber criminals, he said.

“The SPs have also been asked to monitor and inspect documents used for procuring SIM cards in their respective districts on a regular basis. Strict action will be initiated by police against those who are found violating rules and guidelines”, said the ADG.

“We are also in touch with police of the neighbouring states as a considerable number of such SIM cards were issued by the PoS located outside Bihar”, said the ADG.

Prior to this, the DoT deactivated more than 2.25 lakh mobile phone numbers in Bihar and Jharkhand in the month of April as majority of the SIM cards were allegedly procured through forged documents. Besides, telecom service providers also blacklisted 517 PoS, who were found to be involved in unethical and illegal practices while issuing SIM cards, in the month of April.

As per the latest reports received, FIRs in several districts of Bihar, including Patna and Gaya, as well as in Jharkhand have been lodged by the Telecom Service Providers with the respective police. The EoU (Bihar) and district police in Patna and Gaya are analysing DoT’s reports, said a senior official of the DoT’s LSA (Bihar).

“The DoT (New Delhi) taking the lead and to curb cyber menace has carried out facial analysis of more than 87 crore SIM subscribers across India. The analysis has been carried out using artificial intelligence and facial recognition powered solutions for telecom SIM Subscriber Verification (ASTR) analysis in collaboration with the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing.

“The result of analysis has been shared with Department of Telecommunication field units to ensure action against SIM fraudsters with the help of Telecom Service Providers and state police. Approximately seven crore SIM subscribers’ facial data of Bihar and Jharkhand were analysed and actionable intelligence was compiled”, said the DoT statement. PTI

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