STF detains 2 more associates of OTP-sharing scam prime accused with ISI links

STF detains 2 more associates of OTP-sharing scam prime accused with ISI links

Bhubaneswar: The Special Task Force (STF) of Odisha Crime Branch on Sunday detained two associates of Pathanisamant Lenka, the mastermind in OTP-sharing scam slapped with sedition charges for his alleged links with Pakistani intelligence agents.

According to sources, Lenka’s two associates were picked up from Jajpur district. Lenka (36), a teacher at an Industrial Training Institute (ITI), and his two aides – Saroj Nayak (26) and Soumya Pattnaik (19) – were arrested for procuring pre-activated SIM cards and selling OTPs to Pakistani intelligence operatives. Nineteen costly mobile phones (Including Apple mobile), 47 SIM cards, 61 ATM cards, and 23 SIM covers were seized from them.

Lenka’s links with two Pakistani intelligence agents have been established. He was in direct contact with one Guddu Kumar and went into hiding after the latter was arrested by West Bengal Special Task Force in December last year for passing on sensitive information, including photographs of certain strategic locations in north Bengal, to his handlers in Pakistan. The STF had also ascertained Lenka’s link with a Patna-based woman, who was arrested by Rajasthan police recently for her alleged ties with some Pakistani agents, sources said.

The STF would be taking Lenka on a five-day remand from Monday to elicit more information on the scam. It has already shared all information with the National Investigating Agency (NIA) and Intelligence Bureau (IB).

Notably, the OTPs were used to create various accounts or channels on social media like WhatsApp, Telegram, Facebook, and Instagram and also on online shopping sites like Amazon, Flipkart. These were also used in opening email accounts. Most thought that these accounts were owned by an Indian, but they actually were being operated from Pakistan, the STF sources said.

These social media platforms was then used in various kinds of anti-India activities like espionage, communication with terrorists, radicalisation, running anti-India propaganda, fuelling anti-India/ divisive sentiments on social media, sextortion and honey-trapping, it added.

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