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Nearly 98 percent of stolen mobiles untraced

New Delhi, July 12 (Calcutta Tube) Nearly 98 percent of mobile phones reported lost or stolen in the national capital in 2008-09 are yet to be traced, posing a grave security threat, a right to information (RTI) activist said here Monday.

In a reply to a RTI application by Dev Ashish Bhattacharya, the Delhi Police said that in 2008-09, 56,841 mobile phones were reported either lost or stolen and out of which only 1,208 have been recovered.

‘Lost and stolen mobile phones are a real threat to the security of the capital, as they can be misused by anti-nationals and terrorists. Though more than 55,000 mobile phones have been lost or stolen, yet very little action has been taken. This exposes Delhi Police’s lackadaisical approach to security of the capital,’ said Bhattacharya, who filed the RTI application on Dec 21, 2009.

No statistics are available for the year 2009-10, Bhattacharya added.

Recently, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit received a threat call from a mobile phone which was reported lost earlier.

According to Bhattacharya, a lost or stolen mobile can be easily traced, as each phone has a unique International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number — a 15-digit number has information on the origin, model, and serial number of the device.

Soon after a person files a complaint, police have to ask the service provider to identify the handset and its location on the network to track down the specific user, he said.

With the help of IMEI number and the telecom operators, it becomes easy for the police to detect the location or user of the lost or stolen mobile phone. Yet many remain untraceable, he said.

‘The home ministry has not sent any directive to the Delhi Police to take a serious note of the lost or stolen mobile phones. Moreover there are only two mobile tracking centres in the entire Delhi where about 18 million people are using mobile phones,’ said Bhattacharya.

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