India’s biggest mobile operators have been caught red-handed bribing their mobile operators to secure deals, with the government claiming that there was a “clear link” between the practice and an increasing rise in the price of SIM cards.
In the latest scandal, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) said it had seized a total of 6,500 SIM cards worth about $15 million from a business owner, who was allegedly paying $15,000 to secure an initial sale for a mobile app called ‘Nuvo’, which has been selling for less than Rs 100.
The ED said the alleged bribe was made by a woman from Gujarat who worked in the company’s IT department.
According to the ED, the woman was employed by a business in Ahmedabad, where she had been earning $15 an hour.
The company, which has a turnover of about $30 million, is one of the top players in the mobile market in India, accounting for about one-fifth of all transactions.
In December this year, a man in Ahmedabhatti, Gujarat, was arrested on charges of taking bribe for a sale of 1.5 million SIM cards, which were allegedly purchased through a fake firm called Eshan Telecoms.
The company was then found to be paying a total price of nearly $15.5m to secure the sale.
A week later, the ED also said that a person in Ahmedpur, in the state of Gujarat, had been arrested on suspicion of bribing two people to secure sales of 500,000 SIM cards from Eshans Mobile App.