Last month, the Mumbai Police Crime Branch made an arrest on tip that led to the discovery of an entire cell phone theft racket and revealed how courier companies and villagers in the city along the Indo-Bengali border were smuggling stolen cell phones across the country. the border. By the end of August, the police managed to recover nearly 800 mobile phones and arrested 21 people.
According to the sources, the stolen high-end phones will eventually be smuggled to countries like Nepal and Bangladesh while old phones will continue to proliferate in India. In June 2022, a constable Sampaji Kulikar working in the Mumbai crime branch received information that a resident of the city was buying lost or stolen cell phones. After that, a team was formed to check how the process was going.
Earlier this year, by July 15, the team was reported to have been able to recover at least 490 smartphones and arrest the accused. However, by the next month, the team had recovered more than 600 devices and arrested 12 people in connection with this racket. Police said the phones were “stolen on buses or hijacked by the perpetrators on bicycles”.
Prime Minister accused and his way of doing
One of the perpetrators arrested in August was a villager from Tripura, a state close to the border, who told police how the stolen phones were smuggled into Bangladesh. According to police sources, once the device is stolen from Mumbai, its photos and details are uploaded to the WhatsApp group which also includes people from Bangladesh and Nepal. Then, the selected phones are then packed into boxes and sent to Bangladesh.
According to the Mumbai police, one of the seven members of the gang and the prime minister accused of the beating is Ashfaq Ahmed Abdul Aziz Sheikh. “Ostensibly, he was a school teacher, but in reality, he was the main receiver of the stolen phones. One of the officers told the media that he was sending the phones to Nepal and Bangladesh through his connections.
Sheikh was part of 43 groups on WhatsApp where he auctioned phones to people in Nepal and Bangladesh after changing IMEI numbers. Reportedly, his wife and son live in Nepal where he has a bank account which received Rs. 8 lakh of Nepal and Rs. Police said 6 lakh from Bangladesh in a row. However, he and his gang also bought stolen cell phones from mobile kidnappers operating across the financial capital.
The boxes are then sent to a courier company based in south Mumbai, having the address of Agartala, Tripura. The local police said the suspects would collect the matter in Agartala and pass it across the porous and jungle-covered Indo-Bangladesh border.” They added that three people had been identified who were going to collect these stolen phones and sell them in Bangladesh.
The reason these stolen cell phones are sold outside India is that criminals do not have to spend money on erasing the IMEI number, which can be traced by law enforcement in the country. “Once the phone moves to another country, the IMEI number is not used much by law enforcement agencies,” said the officer familiar with the matter.
The police have now managed to recover the mobile phones worth approximately Rs. crore. On the other hand, while the officers have identified the three perpetrators from Bangladesh, they need additional evidence to hand the case over to the Bangladeshi authorities to take action against these people, according to the authorities.
Meanwhile, earlier this week, Indian Border Security Forces (BSF) seized mobile phones worth nearly Rs. 40 lakh in Malda district in West Bengal which is part of the state near the international border between Bangladesh and India (IB). Reportedly, the seized shipment on Friday contained at least 359 cell phones.
Maritime Security Force intelligence was tracking the movements of these smugglers when the forces saw approximately “10 to 12 suspected smugglers heading towards the fence firmly when the force got there… The smugglers escaped with the help of pitch darkness and bushes. After that, Al Fakan launched a special search operation, and during Searching, eight bags were found in a soil pit near the fence.”
Authorities in the Bahraini security forces have indicated that the names of several Indian smugglers have emerged and an FIR has been filed against them at the local police station. The mobile phones were also handed over to the police for further investigation and legal action, according to the Bahraini security forces.
(with input from agencies)