State raps Idea Cellular, SBI, police for inaction

The state government has come down heavily on Idea Cellular, State Bank of India (SBI) and police for "inaction" on a complaint of SIM card duplication. It ordered an investigation against the three and slapped a fine of Rs 25,000 on Idea.

The order was passed on a complaint by Pune resident Balbir Singh, whose mobile service was suddenly terminated. He later found out that another person in Shirdi was using his number.

Singh claimed he lost mobile network while going to Mumbai on January 13, 2012. While Idea did not give him a satisfactory reason, Singh found out that the number was in his name but was being used by another person in Shirdi.

Documents furnished by that person had Singh's wife's name but an old woman's picture. Singh claimed Rs 2 lakh was transferred from his SBI account into that of Paresh Malhotra, also an account-holder with the bank, using his personal information.

While the bank ordered the money be transferred back to Singh's account, it has been held guilty of negligence. "When a citizen applies for a SIM card, he provides information which is personal and sensitive. He reposes faith and trust in the company to not share the details with a third party. It is not difficult to realise such information, if it falls in wrong hands, can be misused," Rajesh Agarwal, secretary, information technology, observed.

The order says it is crucial telecom companies follow strict security procedures while issuing SIM cards, especially since mobile phones are being increasingly used for financial transactions. Noting inadequate police investigation into the complaint filed by Singh, Agarwal recommended director general police organise special training courses for cyber cell members.

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