A plea in the Delhi High Court has alleged that telecom service provider Sistema Shyam Teleservices Ltd (SSTL) was selling handsets with invalid IMEI numbers, thus posing a threat to national security. Taking note of the petition, Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva has issued notice to the Centre, the Central Board of Excise and Customs, SSTL, the Indian subsidiary of Russian mobile operator MTS, and Shyam Telecom Ltd, which imports the handsets for the telecom service provider.
The court sought the responses of the authorities by July 26 on the plea by the Managing Director of an Indian telecom firm. The Indian firm, Manisha Tele Sanchar Pvt Ltd, has sought an inquiry into the alleged import and sale of mobile handsets, data cards and Wi-Fi devices without a valid IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) number, which is a unique 15-digit number that identifies mobile and satellite phones.
The Manisha Tele official, Mahesh Bhati, has also sought verification of the IMEI numbers of handsets imported by Shyam Telecom from Hong Kong-based H K Haochem Trade Ltd. In his plea filed through advocate Sumit Nagpal, Bhati has alleged that the Bureau of Indian Standards was misled into granting a registration number to the Hong Kong-based company.
The petition alleged that the Central Board of Excise and Customs too failed to discharge its duty in verifying the authenticity of the IMEI numbers of the mobile handsets, data cards and WiFi devices imported by Shyam Telecom. Bhati has sought directions to the Department of Telcommunications, the customs authority and BIS to recall all the mobile handsets, data cards and Wi-Fi devices without a valid IMEI number.