The Telegraph
Monday , October 11 , 2010
Since 1st March, 1999
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Cops lob cell abuse in CEOs’ court

Guwahati, Oct. 10: The chief executive officers (CEO) of mobile service providers, or their direct representatives, should come under the scanner, if mobile connections fall into “wrong hands” in Assam.

This was recommended by Assam police, based on a study conducted by them to look into cases of increasing mobile phone-enabled crimes, and the faulty SIM card verification process.

“Since the service providers are corporate and make considerable profit, they have the wherewithal, resources and capacity to ensure a proper verification. The CEOs of the service providers should be made directly responsible and laws/rules should be made accordingly, in case of faulty process of verification,” the recommendations made by the Assam police said.

The recommendations have been submitted to the home department.

A senior police official said criminals and militants are increasingly using mobile phones to extort money and for other criminal activities, and it is the duty of the service provider to issue connections with proper verification.

“Because of the faulty issuing process, anti-social elements are getting easy access to mobile phones. It becomes very difficult for security forces to track a criminal who procures a mobile connection with false papers,” he added.

Assam police said no actual verification of documents submitted by a customer takes place while seeking a connection as service providers often flout the basic guidelines for issuing SIM cards. The police alleged that a nexus between the field executives of service providers and retailers of SIM cards was quite common and the verification agencies had no expertise to recheck the authenticity of documents provided by customers.

“The retailers concentrate on giving more connections in a bid to make more money, thus flouting all norms for verification,” the report stated.

The report also expressed its doubts regarding implementation of the safety guidelines recommended recently by the department of telecommunication’s vigilance cell — Telecom Enforcement Resource and Monitoring (TERM) — wherein Jammu and Kashmir guidelines would be applied in Assam.

In J&K, copies of the verification forms, duly completed with the photographs of the subscribers, are handed over to the police. “With shortage of manpower, it would be an added burden for the police force to carry out verification,” the study said, given the fact that almost two lakh connections are allotted every month, and it would be a Herculean task to process, store and verify so many forms.

The new guidelines also do not specify whether the existing verification process in Assam would continue.

“Taking advantage of this order, most of the service providers are following the old practice,” the report said.

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