The Special Task Force (STF) of Odisha police has arrested three cyber criminals for sharing OTP of pre-activated SIMs to some criminals and suspected Pakistani agents, a police official said on Tuesday.
Based on intelligence inputs, the STF has arrested Pathani Samant Lenka (35), Saroj Kumar Nayak alias (26) and Soumya Pattanaik (19) on charges of fraudulently procuring a large number of pre-activated SIM cards in others’ names and selling the OTPs to some Pakistani Intelligence Operatives (PIO) and ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence) agents in Pakistan and in India, the official said.
J.N. Pankaj, Inspector General of Police, STF, said that the three procured a large number of activated SIM cards in others’ names and sold the OTPs to various clients, including some Pakistani intelligence operatives and ISI agents, for large sums of money.
They were also in touch with a female PIO agent who was arrested last year in an Official Secrets Act/honey-trap case in Rajasthan, he informed.
“The OTPs were misused to open online bank accounts and social media handles in WhatsApp, Telegram, Facebook, Instagram etc. and also on online shopping sites like Amazon, Flipkart etc.,” Pankaj said.
He suspected that these social media platforms would then be used in various kinds of anti-India activities like spying, communicating with terrorists, radicalisation, running anti-India propaganda, fuelling anti-India/divisive sentiments on social media, sextortion, honey-trapping etc.
As these accounts are registered/linked on Indian mobile numbers, people would find them trustworthy.
The OTPs also might have been used in opening email accounts. People will think that these accounts are owned by an Indian but actually they are operated from Pakistan, he said.
“We have found that the accused had done all the financial transactions through UPIs. So, we have requested the National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI) to provide the details of the UPI accounts,” the IGP told IANS.
After receiving details from the NPCI and scientific examination of the seized mobile phones and other gadgets, the accused will be taken on remand for further investigation into the sensitive case, he said.
Pankaj also informed that an investigation is on to nab other persons involved in this case.