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Bhubaneswar, Dec 7 – The Special Task Force (STF) of the Odisha Crime Branch has achieved a breakthrough in its crackdown on an inter-state fake SIM card and mule bank account racket by apprehending another key member from Murshidabad in West Bengal.

On December 4, the STF arrested Samim Islam, a resident of Gudhia in Murshidabad district. He was subsequently produced before the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate in Lalbag and brought to Bhubaneswar on a three-day transit remand to be presented before the Sub-Divisional Judicial Magistrate court.

Islam is believed to be a crucial member of the racket with extensive links primarily in West Bengal and Bihar. The racket operated by running mule bank accounts, which were then sold to various cybercriminals, cyber-financial scammers, and extortionists across India, with a focus on Kolkata and other regions.

Previously, three individuals—Sk Hapizul, Sk Jahangir (both from Balasore district), and Sk Jamiruddin (from Rampura)—were arrested under the Mohanpur Police Station in West Medinipur. The scammers were found to be running mule bank accounts and selling them, along with their connected mobile numbers, to criminals in different parts of the country.

The racket primarily operated in the tri-junction area of Odisha, Jharkhand, and West Bengal, especially in districts like Balasore, Mayurbhanj, East Midnapore, West Midnapore, East Singhbhum, West Singhbhum, and Saraikela.

Led by Sk Jamiruddin, the racket employed around 10–15 people, paying them Rs 15,000 per month to open bank accounts. The modus operandi involved targeting poor villagers and tribal communities, enticing them to open bank accounts for a fee. Social media platforms such as secret WhatsApp groups, Facebook pages, and Telegram channels were used to sell the mule bank accounts.

These accounts were sold for Rs 15,000 to Rs 20,000 each, and the scammers frequently changed bank accounts. The accounts were often abandoned after reaching a transaction threshold of Rs 1 lakh, and they occasionally froze the accounts before law enforcement intervention.

Thus far, approximately 5,000 mule bank accounts have been sold through various platforms. The STF continues its efforts to dismantle the entire network and prevent further criminal activities related to the racket.