The Mumbai Police Crime Branch claimed to have busted an interstate gang with the arrest of two mobile phone shop owners from Karnataka and Kerala. Police said the gang was responsible for stealing mobile phones in Mumbai, erasing their unique IMEI numbers and selling them in other states at discounted rates.
According to police, more arrests were likely in the case. Police identified the accused as as Mansoor Salman (30), a Karnataka resident, and Ibrahim Moiuddin (25), a Kerala resident, who owned mobile shops in their states. They had come to Trombay to purchase stolen mobile phones, police said.
Assistant Inspector Mahesh Toraskar from the Crime Branch (unit VI) received a tip-off about Salman and Moiuddin earlier this week.
“We laid a trap and apprehended the duo on Sunday. They had 56 stolen mobile phones. The IMEI numbers had been wiped off from all phones. Following this, they were arrested,” said Inspector Chandrakant Dalvi.
“We are now trying to find out from where they purchased the stolen mobiles and who wiped off the IMEI number,” Dalvi added.
An officer said the interstate gang was divided into three groups that worked independently. The members erased the IMEI number on the phones so as to make them untraceable once they were in use again.
The first group was involved in stealing mobile phones, mostly high-end, in Mumbai, following which they would hand them over to the second group, involved in erasing IMEI numbers using a software, the officer added.
Once the IMEI number was wiped off, police said, the gang contacted another group comprising shopkeepers in other states, who purchased them at lower rates and sold it at a profit. Police added that they were aware that these were stolen phones.
“Even after they add their own share, the actual price of the phone is lower than the market rate, making it profitable for them,” an officer said.