658 SIM cards issued on single photograph

After investigation, it was found that a representative in a telecom network provider branch office in Gunadala, processed as many as 658 SIM cards recently using his company-authorised portal.
Image used for representational purpose.
Image used for representational purpose.

VIJAYAWADA: Vijayawada city police registered a case following a complaint from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) alleging that as many as 658 SIM cards had been issued using the photo of one person on Wednesday.

The incident came to light during the internal verification of addresses and details of the SIM card holders using artificial intelligence and facial recognition-powered solutions for the telecom SIM subscriber verification process.

During the investigation, it was learnt that one person named Polukonda Naveen, who has been working as a representative in a telecom network provider branch office in Gunadala, processed as many as 658 SIM cards recently using his company-authorised portal.

“So far, two persons were taken into custody and 150 other SIM cards were issued at Ajit Singh Nagar and Vissannapet branches. We are verifying the facts in order to ascertain the irregularities,” NTR district commissioner of police Kanthi Rana Tata told TNIE.  

The CP further explained that the artificial intelligence tool in DoT scanned and verified all the details such as addresses, photos and fingerprints furnished at the time of purchasing the SIM card and ran an internal check to verify the information pertaining to SIM card holders.

“The investigation is focused on information pertaining to irregularities while issuing SIM cards and details of the persons. A thorough investigation is on to make sure the SIM cards did not fall into the wrong hands,” he maintained.

Following the official communication from DoT, the NTR district commissioner of police Kanthi Rana Tata directed South Zone ACP B Ravi Kiran for a detailed probe and registered a case under relevant sections of IPC at Suryaraopet police station.

The CP also said that the officials of DoT expressed their concern that as many as 658 SIM cards from a telecom network provider were issued (both new and number portability) using one photograph of a person and explained to the CP that it was a crime as the maximum number of SIM cards per a person is not more than 10.

“A team was probing the incident. We called both the representatives of network providers and the person who issued the SIM cards. The investigation is under process,” said the CP Kanthi Rana Tata.

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