Odisha STF Arrests Another Suspect for Sharing OTPs with Pakistani Intelligence Operatives

Bhubaneswar: Odisha Special Task Force (STF) has made another significant arrest in connection with the case of sharing One-Time Passwords (OTPs) with Pakistani Intelligence Operatives. The individual apprehended on June 7 is identified as Pradyumna Kumar Sahoo, a 32-year-old resident of Mahitama village in Nayagarh district. As a graduate, Sahoo had previously worked in prominent telecom companies such as Idea and Jio. At the time of arrest, he was employed at Blackbuck Fastag company.

Sahoo is accused of illegally supplying over 500 pre-activated SIM cards and more than 150 pre-activated Paytm wallets to Pathani Samanta Lenka, who was previously arrested in connection with the OTP sharing case. These SIM cards and wallets were then sold to various cyber criminals and Pakistani Intelligence Operatives, including those operating within Pakistan, specifically from Karachi and Baluchistan.

The STF’s investigation revealed that the accused employed deceptive tactics to generate multiple SIM cards, taking advantage of unsuspecting customers who encountered technical issues during the purchasing process. It is worth noting that registered mobile phone numbers linked to bank accounts are mandatory for the activation of different wallets like Phone Pe and Google Pay. However, in the case of Paytm wallets, the process differs as customers can operate their accounts by sharing OTPs, user IDs, and passwords with individuals using different mobile numbers.

Considering the seriousness of the situation, the STF is currently analyzing the process and contemplating contacting Paytm to implement necessary changes in its settings to enhance transparency and security.

Previously, on May 13, the STF had apprehended three individuals, including an ITI teacher, in connection with the case. Pathani Samant Lenka, a resident of Badapandusar, Saroj Kumar Nayak, an ITI teacher from Dasapalla, and Soumya Pattanaik from Sujanpur were booked under various sections of the IPC and IT Act. The STF seized several incriminating materials during the raids, including mobile phones, pre-activated SIM cards, and a laptop. The seized items comprised 19 mobile phones, including one Apple device, 47 SIM cards, 61 ATM cards, and 23 SIM card covers.

As the investigation progresses, the STF continues its efforts to ensure national security and counteract activities that threaten the country’s integrity.

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