Vikash Sharma

Concerns were expressed after the Special Task Force (STF) recently busted a racket involved in selling and sharing OTP with some criminals and anti-national elements. What was more serious was the fact that the accused, who were arrested, allegedly had links with Pakistani intelligence agents.

Also Read: OTP Sharing with Pakistani Agents: Odisha STF to invoke NSA against Mastermind

As the misuse of fake/pre-activated SIMs has become a serious issue, the Odisha Crime Branch issued guidelines to check the misuse.

The officials of the Department of Telecommunication and Telecom Service Providers (TSP)-BSNL, Airtel, Jio and Voda-Idea (VIL) attended the meeting today held in Bhubaneswar.


It is pertinent to mention here that around 20,000 pre-activated SIM cards and cash of Rs 14 lakh was seized in Odisha in May 2022. SIM box machine with large number of SIMs was also seized in Baripada in September 2022 and 17000 SIMs were also seized in Bhubaneswar.

Senior Crime Branch officials said that the Department of Telecommunication (DOT) had conducted verification of SIMs using ASTR software which hinted that some SIMs with fake addresses are still active.


For Tele verification, calls should be made to the Phone number which is Aadhaar linked. Dealers having permanent shops should only be allowed to sell SIMs.

The Telecom Service Providers (TSP) should devise a mechanism for the customers to complain about the fake SIM and to get it deactivated. Point Of Sales (POS) that are caught violating the SOP of SIM activation should be blacklisted.

TSPs should create awareness among the customers regarding TAFCOP tool that enables the customers to verify and ascertain how many SIMs are in use in their name with/without their knowledge.

TSPs should have an internal surveillance mechanism over those activated SIMs lying dormant continuously but being recharged regularly.

Crime Branch ADG, Arun Bothra said that in cases involving the bulk seizure of such SIMs, the role of all concerned officials of the Telecom Service Provider would also be brought under the purview of the investigation for conspiring to issue such SIMs and suitable legal action shall be initiated against them along with others in the supply chain.

The Telecom Service Providers have also been asked to strengthen their internal vigilance mechanism and conduct regular checks and verification and deactivate SIMs that are prone to be misused.

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