Mumbai crime: Mobile shop owner held for changing IMEI number
Accused, who is a software engineer, was arrested and charged under the IT Act for using technology to change the unique IMEI number of mobile phones
With the police department nowadays relying on tracing absconding offenders through their mobile handset location, a shocking case unearthed reveals that criminals may have found a way to throw them off guard.
Caught in the act: Oshiwara police officials laid a trap for accused Mayank Kumar and caught him red-handed changing the IMEI number of a mobile handset
A 25-year-old old mobile shop owner, Mayank Kumar, was caught red-handed while changing the International Mobile-station Equipment Identity (IMEI) number of a high-end mobile handset at his store yesterday. Kumar, a software engineer by profession, used to change the IMEI number the mobile handsets using sophisticated software. Police said he has carried out similar modifications on several mobile phones.
The matter came to light after a businessman named Ajit Shaikh approached the Cell Spot shop, located in Sunshine building at Lokhandwala, to sell his mobile phone.
“When I told Kumar that I wanted to sell the phone, he thought it was a stolen handset. He told me that the IMEI number could be changed, making it hard to detect. But, I was selling it because it had a minor problem. He demanded Rs 1,000 for the modification,” said Shaikh.
“I suspected foul play and thought of giving it a try to ascertain the modus-operandi. After installing some software, Kumar gave me the phone. I came out of the shop and noticed that the IMEI number of my phone had changed,” said Shaikh.
Shaikh then approached the Oshiwara police station, after which he was asked to go back to Kumar, as the cops wanted to nab him red-handed.
It takes only a few minutes to change the IMEI number of a phone using the right software. Representation pic
“On Wednesday, Shaikh approached Kumar again and asked him to repeat it on another phone. When Kumar installed the software, we arrested him and charged him under various sections of the IT Act,” said PI Baburao Mukhedkar, from Oshiwara police station.
Vishnu Rathod, assistant police inspector of Oshiwara police station, said, “This is a serious offence. Kumar used to earlier work for various mobile service providers. We have got the details of the software being used to change the IMEI number.”
The police presented Kumar in court yesterday after which he was remanded in police custody for two days.