30-yr-old runs Rs 43 lakh phone bill in 20 days

VSNL customer arrested for providing fake address while registering for a wireless connection that he used to make international calls

Worried about your high telephone bills? There is one telephone bill that got service providers worried. Last week, VSNL officials were taken aback to find that one of their customers made calls worth almost Rs 43 lakh in 20 days on a wireless landline connection he had recently signed up for. Further, in order to evade bill payment, the accused registered himself with a fake address to throw the police off his trail. However, he was arrested on Saturday for cheating and forgery.

Chatterbox: Rishikesh Shukla made the international calls between
November 3
and 23

According to the police, the accused, identified as Rishikesh Shukla (30), took a VSNL wireless connection on September 14. He requested for STD and ISD services from the service provider. But VSNL officials got suspicious when they discovered that he made virtually nonstop international calls, running up a bill of
Rs 42,52,480 in less than three weeks. He made all the calls between November 3 and 23. On Friday, the officials decided to visit him at his residence only to realise that the address was fake. They registered an FIR against him with the Badlapur police.

After investigations, the Badlapur police succeeded in arresting Shukla, a resident of Kolsewadi, from Kalyan on Saturday.

"I have arrested Shukla under Section 420 (cheating and dishonesty), 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating of documents), 469 (forgery for purpose of harming reputation) and 471 (using as genuine a forged document or electronic record) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). I have also demanded the details of the calls which Shukla had made," said Vijay Kumar Bagal, senior inspector, Badlapur police station. The purpose for which he made the calls will become known after officials get the call details, cops said.

The police, however, are surprised that he got the connection without proper verification from VSNL employees. "If any person wants a connection, VSNL officials usually demand a heap of identity proof documents. It is surprising how they gave the connection to Shukla without asking for any valid proof," said an officer.

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