Mumbai: A 29-year-old train attendant, working on the Delhi-Mumbai Rajdhani Express, was taken into custody after railway police found nine iPhones in his possession, as he alighted from the train at Mumbai Central railway station on Wednesday.
The Government Railway Police (GRP) later arrested the attendant, identified as Pintu Prabhakar Sarkar, after it came to light that the high-end mobile phones were stolen from New Delhi and from passengers travelling in the Rajdhani train.
During Sarkar’s interrogation, he revealed that he was on his way to deliver the stolen merchandise to his accomplice, who had checked in at a lodge in the vicinity of the station. Cops rushed to the lodge and picked up Wasim Shaikh from Apex Guest House in Mumbai Central. The police recovered another 27 iPhones from Shaikh.
Police said the duo were involved in a sophisticated racket wherein the iPhones robbed in Delhi were brought to the city and handed to the phone company’s service centre. The accused would claim that the phones had some defects, after which the unsuspecting service centre would replace it under the warranty period. The phones outside the warranty period were sent Bangkok.
“They used to steal the iPhones from Delhi and from the Rajdhani train. The stolen property was then brought to Mumbai. Fake purchase bills were made of the phones, after which they would take it to the Apple service centre. The service centres used to then replace the purportedly defective phones with new ones.
If any phone was out of the warranty period, they would send it to Bangkok, get it unlocked there, and change its IMEI number,” said Rajendra Trivedi, senior police inspector, GRP, Mumbai Central. Police said the racket was unearthed as a result of the intensified checks at the railway station ahead of Republic Day. Police constable Maya Mane had stopped Sarkar during a security check at platform number 5.
“During the check, our constable found nine phones in Sarkar’s bag. When he was asked for the purchase bills, he could not answer the constable. That’s when she realised something was amiss and took him for questioning. During interrogations, he spilled the beans on his accomplice, whom we later picked up,” said Trivedi. Police said investigations were on and more arrests were likely.