The Directorate of Information Technology (IT) of Maharashtra government has asked AT&T Services, Idea Cellular and their franchisees to cough up an amount of Rs 38.7 lakh as compensation to two customers for causing them a loss to the tune of several lakhs by issuing duplicate SIM cards to cheaters, TOI reported.
In an order issued last week, SVR Srinivas, Principal Secretary (IT), asked the company to compensate the amount to two Nagpur-based businessmen- Rajkumar Singhee and Nandkishor Gawarkar. Srinivas asked the company to pay the entire amount to the duo within a period of 30 days.
The case dates back to 2016, where Singhee suffered a loss of Rs 26.7 lakh in July while Gawarkar suffered a loss of Rs 12 lakh in August. In Rajkumar Singhee’s case, Gondia-based Shreemant services operated by Gajanan Doye and in Nandkishor Gawarkar’s case, Nagpur-based Adinath Enterprises run by Vinod Chawade, were directed to share the entire compensation amount.
“In the final analysis, the responsibility of AT&T, Idea and their franchisees is quite serious and can’t be condoned. Both complainants should be compensated, a loss was caused due to the issuance of SIM cards without diligence,” the report quoted Srinivas’ ruling.
The incident comes to light when both Singhee and Gawarkar contacted Idea (as their mobile number belong to Idea) after they noticed that their cell phones had no connectivity. In response to their complaints, Idea told them that a duplicate SIM was issued for their numbers.
After Singhee and Gawarkar raised an alarm, Idea was forced to issue a new SIM card for the same numbers. But it was too late and the fraudsters were successful in withdrawing the money from their bank accounts.
AT&T and Idea had blamed the complainants and concerned banks for being “negligent” in maintaining the safety and security of account details. The companies also accused the bank authorities of failing to check suspicious high-value transactions within a short period of time.
UPDATE | AT&T India responds: We do not offer any consumer mobile services in India, and this seems to be a mistake. We are investigating the source of these reports.