Mysuru: The city Police, who had arrested two persons for tampering with IMEI (International Mobile-station Equipment Identity) number of mobile phones, have now arrested the kingpin of the racket.
The kingpin, who has been arrested is 50-year-old Raviprasad Khunja, a resident of Mangaluru. He had close contacts with Shoaib and Kasib, who were earlier arrested. They owned a shop on the K.T. Street and used to sell Chinese goods including electronic items. They used to procure stolen handsets, erase the original IMEI numbers of the handsets and reintroduce their own IMEI numbers.
The Police had seized over 30 mobile phone handsets, laptops, IMEI crackers, IMEI number changing software and equipment and computers.
Interrogating Shoaib and Kasib, the Police learnt that the kingpin was Raviprasad Khunja and he was arrested four days back. Raviprasad had managed to procure the IMEI number changing machine from abroad and had the relevant software to update and change the 15-digit number.
Once the IMEI numbers are changed, the handsets were sold in places including Mysuru, Mangaluru, Bengaluru, Chitradurga, Davangere and some other parts of Kerala too, making it difficult for the Police to track such numbers. Mostly criminals used such handsets to commit a crime and go untraced.
Taking cognisance of the gravity of altering the number and pose a threat to national security, the Police are now are exploring options to take stringent action against those indulging in the offence. The options include reporting of such cases to the National Investigating Agency (NIA) as there was the possibility of these fake devices being used for terrorist activities.
The Police will soon launch a drive to scan devices at outlets selling, and repairing mobile phones.
A team will be constituted under the Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime) Dr. Vikram V. Amathe that will verify all mobile phone shops in the city.
Officers will check the equipment and the software being used, and in the event, if some suspicious activity is found, such shops will be sealed, the Police added.