The Bhiwandi crime branch of Thane police on Saturday arrested three people from a gang of seven people, including employees of a telecom firm for preparing fake Aadhaar and election cards to get SIM cards. Four others from the gang had been held in November last year. The accused would download pictures from Facebook profiles and photoshop them on fake Aadhaar and election cards and sell them to undocumented people wanting to get SIM cards.

Sheetal Raut, senior police inspector, Bhiwandi crime branch said in most of the detected case, the accused were using SIM cards made on fake identities. “We conducted a raid and arrested four people on November 9, 2016 and registered a case at Bhiwandi police station,” said Raut. Two of the four arrested are activation officers at telecom company Telenor.

“We seized 460 bogus customer verification forms, 60 fake stamps of different shops and Aadhaar and election cards. Then, on January 21, we further arrested three more people: Siraj Ahmed, Riyaz Ahmed Ansari, owner of a mobile shop and Dyanprakash Gupta who was found purchasing SIM cards from Riyaz and one Altamash Ansari. The trio are in custody till January 27.”

The police have seized around 49,967 photos of unidentified people, 9,400 duplicate Aadhaar cards, 3,072 election cards and different forms of telecom firms. 11,345 SIM cards of different telecom companies were activated with the help of fake documents prepared by the accused and 3,660 cards were approved with fake documents and were awaiting activation. To prepare the documents and SIM cards around 110 mobile phones were used.

Ashutosh Dumbre, joint commissioner of police, Thane said, “Bhiwandi is a hub for power loom firms and most of the labourers there don’t have any documents. The accused used to sell the labourers the cards. Almost all SIM cards were activated using fake documents. We have also informed the respective firms about the same.