In a major breach of licence terms and conditions, Birla group firm Idea Cellular has issued a whopping 3,640 connections to a single person and his company, endangering national security, Parliament was informed on Thursday.
"Yes, Idea Cellular had issued 3,640 post-paid connections to a single person and his company, Limco Sales Corporation of Delhi and as per the report of the Department of Telecom, the bulk connections have been rented out to other customers," Minister of State for Telecom and IT Sachin Pilot said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha.
He said the Home Ministry has intimated that security agencies face problems in establishing identity of actual users in cases where bulk connections have been activated in the name of a single user/location/organisation, and the numbers have been further distributed/rented for use.
To a query whether this endangers national security, Pilot said "this practice of providing mobile connections to an individual without maintaining his identity particulars has security implications and operational activities of security agencies are hampered due to non-availability of identity of a particular suspected target."
Idea Cellular has over 68 million mobile subscribers and has operations in most of the circles across the country.
Pilot said the licence conditions provide that "utmost vigilance should be exercised in providing bulk telephone connections for a single user as well as for a single location."
Provision of 10 or more connections may be taken as bulk for this purpose, he said.
"Special verification of bonafide should be carried out for providing such bulk connections. Information about bulk connections shall be forwarded to respective Vigilance Telecom Monitoring cell of DoT and concerned officials authorised by DoT and security agencies from time to time on monthly basis," he said.