BALRAM SINGH, main suspect in the SIM box fraud racket busted by the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) of Madhya Pradesh police, regularly attended Bajrang Dal events in Satna, from where he was arrested last week, it has emerged. Even as the BJP tried to play down the suspects’ connection with the party, state Congress chief Arun Yadav accused senior BJP leaders of protecting the accused and sought a probe. Singh is among 11 suspects arrested recently from Gwalior, Satna, Bhopal and Jabalpur — all suspected to be part of a racket involved in running parallel exchanges to route international calls through the internet to make them appear like local calls. It was allegedly used by Pakistani handlers for espionage, officials said.
Another person arrested, Dhruv Saxena, has claimed that he was a member of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha’s Bhopal district IT Cell. While Shivraj Dabhi, the party’s IT cell in-charge, claimed that Saxena was “not a member” of BJP, his mother Rajni Saxena said he was a member, and is now being framed. Officials said Balram Singh, the alleged kingpin, was purportedly in touch with Pakistani handlers, and was taken into custody after two suspects were held in RS Pura Sector of Jammu and Kashmir in November, and 11 were taken into custody in UP in January-end.
Rajbahadur Mishra, Bajrang Dal convener for Satna district, told The Indian Express that Singh was not a member of the organisation and only used to attend its events. He said Singh had convinced a Bajrang Dal member — Ashish Rathod — to open a bank account a year ago and took away his ATM card. Asked whether Rathod lodged an FIR about fraudulent transactions, Mishra claimed Rathod had informed the police that he had been cheated.
According to ATS officials, Singh had allegedly opened several bank accounts and paid commission to the account holders. Officials said their probe has found that the two J&K-based suspects arrested — Satvinder Singh and Dadu — used to receive money from Singh. The other arrested person Dhruv Saxena, 29, who comes from MP’s Chhatarpur district, had shared on Facebook several photographs with leading BJP leaders from the state. The party’s Shivraj Dabhi said, “We did not know it then (but) it was his strategy to attend our functions without invitation and pose with leaders and post the photographs on Facebook. He was not a member.”
Emphasising that her son is associated with the BJP, Rajni Saxena told The Indian Express, “My son is a patriot. He will never engage in any anti-national activity…. Why is he being singled out and painted as anti-national for his reported association with the BJP?”