The Cybercrime cell unit of Meerut Police has filed a case under Section 420 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) against Vivo India after thousands of smartphones were found with the same IMEI number.
The investigation began after a sub-inspector got his Vivo smartphone replaced at a service centre in Delhi and noticed that the IMEI number of the device is different from what is printed on the box. The cyber cell team of Meerut Police was then put in charge of the investigation.
The Vivo service centre manager in Delhi, on January 16, stated that the IMEI number had not been changed. The cyber cell, then, forwarded the IMEI number to the SIM operator used in the handset and asked for the data.
During the five-month-long investigation, it was found that as of September 24, 2019, over 13,500 Vivo smartphones were running on the same IMEI number and were active in different states across the country.
The Meerut Police has now filed a case against Vivo India under Section 420 of the IPC. Akhilesh N. Singh, Additional Superintendent of Police (City), Meerut, told Mint that the sections under which the case will progress may increase as the investigation continues.
The company is yet to comment on the matter.
A similar incident occurred last year in Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh, wherein the police found over a lakh people using smartphones with the same IMEI number.
IMEI or the International Mobile Equipment Identity number is a 15-digit code that is unique to every smartphone. In 2017, a notification from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) stated that all smartphones would have a unique IMEI number, failure to which in the form of manipulation or tampering could lead to a three-year jail.