The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) has arrested three members of a gang accused of embezzling around Tk1 crore after entering the country's leading mobile network operator Grameenphone's database.
CID says a number of employees of Genex Infosys Limited and Wipro Limited – two call centres that have contracts with Grameenphone – are involved in the scam.
The arrestees are Shuvrodeb Chakraborty, Raju Sarker and Mizanur Rahman. They were arrested on Wednesday night from parts of the capital. Four mobile phones and a laptop were seized from their possession.
Prior to their arrest, they had been collecting post-paid SIMs, changing ownerships and raising the SIM cards' credit limits before selling the bulk credits to retailers, CID has said.
Mahmudul Islam Talukder, Additional Superintendent of CID's Cyber Police Centre, said they were able to change the ownerships and increase the credit ceiling as they had access to the Grameenphone database.
After sensing the leak, Grameenphone filed a case with Dhaka's Vatara Police Station on 1 January 2020 under the Digital Security Act. Subsequently, CID's Cyber Investigation Unit was given responsibility to carry out an investigation.
The CID additional superintendent said Genex Infosys and Wipro were two third-party entities which ran call centres for Grameenphone. The three individuals involved used to work at the call centres and had access to the mobile network operator's database.
Apart from handling enquiries by telephone, CID said the call centres also provide other services, such as changing SIM card ownership and increasing credit limits of post-paid SIMs.
The CID official said the arrestees had increased the credit limit of 16 post-paid SIMs after they entered the system in August 2019. Earlier, they registered the SIMs with fake identities. They sold the raised credit to top up outlets and so embezzled Tk13 lakh.
In October 2019 and January 2020, they stole a total of another Tk72 lakh in the same way.
Mahmudul added the individuals had contracts with various top-up agents to whom they sold the mobile phone credits at discounted rates.
Later, the mobile operator found it had not received the cash against the credit to those post-paid SIMs.
When Grameenphone sensed the fraud, it froze the suspicious SIMs which held back huge sums of money. However, by that time the fraudsters had stolen lakhs of taka.
CID said one Raju Sarker, who is the mastermind of the scam, is still on the run.
CID said the gang manipulated at least 50 post-paid SIMs to continue the crime. The mobile network operator initially complained against 12 SIMs. But CID's investigation revealed that more than 50 SIMs had been manipulated by the ring. ***