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Crime-Justice

STF nabs one more in fake SIM card, mule bank account racket

IANS | December 07, 2023 02:47 PM

BHUBANESWAR: The Special Task Force (STF) of Odisha Crime Branch has arrested one more member of an interstate racket involved in opening mule bank accounts and fake SIM cards by luring gullible persons in remote areas of different districts in West Bengal, Odisha and Jharkhand, said a STF official.

The accused identified as Samim Islam is a resident of Gudhia Village in Murshidabad district of West Bengal.

On December 4, the STF sleuths apprehended Islam in connection with a case registered under various sections of the IPC and Information Technology Act. He was later produced before a local court in Murshidabad and brought to Odisha on a three-day transit remand.

The STF had earlier in October this year arrested three other members of the gang identified as Jamiruddin of West Medinipur district in West Bengal, Hapizul and Jahangir of Balasore district of Odisha. Islam, one of the key members of this racket, has close links in different areas of West Bengal and Bihar.

STF sources said the racket operates mainly in the tri-junction area of Odisha, Jharkhand and West Bengal especially in the districts of Balasore, Mayurbhanj, East Midnapore, West Midnapore, East Singhbhum, West Singhbhum and Saraikela areas.

The agents hired by accused Jamiruddin with the payment of Rs 15, 000 each per month used to visit the interiors of the above districts and collect important documents for opening of mule bank accounts. The agents lure poor tribals and villagers in opening mule bank accounts by paying them Rs 2000 per account. The mobile numbers linked with bank accounts are provided by other gang members. Jamiruddin and others would later share the above mule bank accounts and fake SIM cards with Islam who sold them to various cyber, cyber-financial, sextortion scammers and other criminals based at Kolkata and other parts of India.

“They also use social media platforms like WhatsApp, Facebook and Telegram to sell the mule bank accounts at the rate of Rs 15, 000 to 20, 000 per account. So far they have sold around 5000 mule bank accounts at different platforms, ” said the STF official.

The STF also ascertained that the scammers frequently change the bank accounts which they abandon once it reaches a transaction limit of Rs 1 Lakh. Sometimes the accounts get frozen even before that by concerned banks on the request of police or the law enforcement agencies.

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