India's Mumbai Police Crime Branch last month made multiple arrests in connection to a cellphone theft racket which has reported links to Bangladesh.
The development has shed light on how city-based Indian courier companies and villagers along the Bangladesh-India border are helping to smuggle stolen cellphones.
In August's first week, the Indian crime branch had arrested 10 people and found 135 stolen cellphones worth ₹22 lakh (Tk1.18 = ₹1), reports The Indian Express.
According to Indian law enforcers, three more were arrested, with the latest being a villager who stays in Tripura, close to the border.
Indian police claimed the man spilled the beans on how stolen cellphones are smuggled into Bangladesh.
An officer said they have found that once cellphones are stolen from Mumbai, their photographs and details are uploaded on a WhatsApp group that has people from Bangladesh and at times, Nepal.
The stolen phones one is interested in are selected and packed in boxes meant for Bangladesh, The Indian Express added in a recent report.
"The boxes are then sent to a south Mumbai-based courier company, which has an Agartala, Tripura, address.
"The accused would collect the order in Agartala and pass it through the porous Bangladesh-India border, which is covered with jungles," the officer said.
He added that three persons have been identified from Bangladesh, whose job is to collect these stolen phones and sell them in their country.
"The criminals sell the cellphones outside India so that they do not need to spend money on erasing the IMEI number of cellphones, based on which they can be traced by the police.
"Once the phone goes to another country, the IMEI number does not have much use for law enforcement agencies," the officer said.
He added that with the recent police crackdown on those providing illegal services of erasing IMEI numbers, criminals prefer to send cellphones across the border.
The officer said that so far, they have recovered stolen cellphones worth a crore.
"While we have identified three Bangladeshi nationals as part of the module, we will need to gather enough evidence to give to the Bangladeshi authorities so that they can take some action against these persons. We are taking legal opinion on how we can proceed against these persons."
Meanwhile, the Border Security Force (BSF) has (17 September) seized mobile phones worth ₹3,929,000 in West Bengal's Malda district near Bangladesh-India International Border (IB).
The BSF's 70 Battalion troops under South Bengal Frontier, deputed at Border Out Post Sukhdevpur, seized a consignment of 359 mobile phones late on Friday night on the International Border (IB), reports ANI.
The development was based on the basis of accurate information received from BSF intelligence sources, said the BSF, adding "its troops of Border Out Post Sukhdevpur noticed about 10 to 12 suspected smugglers moving towards fencing with bundles when the force reached there."
"But seeing the troops coming towards them, the smugglers fled with the help of thick darkness and bushes. After that the jawans launched a special search operation, during the search, eight bags were recovered in the pit of soil near fencing," the BSF said.
"On the opening of the recovered bags, mobile phones of various companies were found. The estimated value of the seized mobile phones is ₹3,929,000."
According to the BSF inputs, the names of many Indian smugglers involved in this smuggling have come to the fore, who were involved in this smuggling, added ANI.
An FIR has been lodged against all those smugglers at the Baishnabnagar Police Station and the mobile phones that have been seized have also been handed over to the Police Station concerned for further legal action.
The Commanding Officer of the 70 Battalion stated that the BSF is taking strict measures to prevent smuggling along the Bangladesh-Indian border due to which people involved in activities like smuggling are experiencing a lot of difficulties and some of them are getting apprehended, who are also being punished according to the law.