The objective of the foreign agents was to give an impression to the people that the accounts were of Indians but they were actually operated from Pakistan, said the STF.
Published: 14th May 2023 05:27 PM | Last Updated: 14th May 2023 05:29 PM | A+A A-
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BHUBANESHWAR: In a major development, the Special Task Force (STF) of the Crime Branch has arrested three persons for allegedly selling one-time passwords to Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agents to create fake social media accounts and email IDs.
Acting on a tip-off, STF conducted raids and nabbed Pathanisamant Lenka (35) of Itamati, who is a teacher in an ITI college, Saroj Kumar Nayak alias Amit (26) of Poibadi in Nayagarh district and Soumya Pattanaik (19) of Sujanpur in Jajpur district.
During the raids, the agency seized 19 mobile phones, 47 pre-activated SIM cards, 23 SIM covers and 61 ATM cards from the accused. The trio was reportedly in contact with a woman Pakistani intelligence operative who was booked under Official Secrets Act and arrested in a honey trap case from Rajasthan last year.
STF’s investigation has established that the anti-socials were fraudulently procuring SIM cards in bulk issued in the names of different people without their knowledge. They were selling the OTPs and links generated through the SIM cards to ISI agents in Pakistan and those operating in India.
The accused were receiving payments from the Pakistani agents clandestinely operating in India, said the STF. They were even selling the OTPs to cyber frauds. The OTPs were used by foreign nationals to create various accounts/channels on social media like WhatsApp, Telegram, Facebook and Instagram.
They were also using the OTPs for online shopping sites Amazon and Flipkart and to create email accounts. The objective of the foreign agents was to give an impression to the people that the accounts were of Indians but they were actually operated from Pakistan, said the STF.
The accounts opened on online shopping platforms were reportedly used to supply various items to terrorists and people engaging in anti-India activities. People were not finding anything suspicious as the social media/shopping accounts were registered/linked on Indian mobile phone numbers.
“These social media accounts were used to commit various types of anti-India activities like spying, communicating with terrorists, radicalization and running propaganda against the country. The foreign nationals were also fueling anti-India/divisive sentiments on social media and engaging in sextortion and honey trapping,” said STF IG Jai Narayan Pankaj.
The trio was not able to give any satisfactory answer regarding sharing of OTPs and other information to foreign nationals. A case was registered in this connection under Sections 419, 420, 465, 467, 468, 471, 120B and 34 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Sections 66C and 66D of the Information Technology Act and they were arrested, he said.
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