Three police personnel along with a home guard and two private detectives have been arrested by the Delhi Police Special Cell for allegedly entering into a conspiracy to access call detail records (CDR) of several persons, including some public figures, without prior approval from competent authorities.
The arrested accused have been identified as Assistant Sub-Inspector Gopal, Head Constable Harish and Constable Harish, Home Guard Mehraj Saifi and two detectives, Alok Gupta and Punit.
The Special Cell officers said the kingpin of the racket is private detective Anurag Singh who through his accomplice Nitish had hired other detectives. These detectives would then rope in the policemen.
Mr. Anurag along with three others — Delhi Police Constable Arvind Dabas and private detectives Nitish and Neeraj —was arrested in February for trying to access call details of Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley. They were later chargesheeted in the case.
Mr. Arvind Dabas was accused of using the official email address of an Assistant Commissioner of Police to send a request to a telecom company for the CDR of the senior BJP leader.
“Arvind Dabas and the others arrested earlier were part of a chain that was entrusted with accessing the call details of Mr. Jaitley. At his instance, we arrested his accomplices and in the ensuing interrogation new facts emerged. We came to know that after being hired by private parties, Anurag referred the assignments to Nitish. The latter then hired middlemen like Alok, Saifi and Punit who contacted the policemen luring them with money. Using the official email addresses of their seniors without approval, the cops sent requests to mobile phone operators for call details. Dabas was part of one out of three such chains operating independently,” said a senior police officer.
The officer added that policemen were given the phone numbers only and were not briefed about the identities of those the numbers belonged to, the officer added. They were usually paid amounts to the tune of a few thousand rupees for the CDR call detail records and a few hundreds for other subscriber details. The amount, however, varied according to the profile of the target and was decided by the middlemen themselves.
The policemen arrested in the latest round also used similar modus operandi and used the email addresses of the ACPs of Samaypur Badli, Khajuri Khas and Shahadra Sub Divisions to send requests to various mobile phone companies late last year and in the first couple of months of 2013.
After the matter surfaced in February this year, the Delhi Police issued stringent guidelines for obtaining the CDR. call detail records. Earlier, ACPs (Operations) of districts and selected inspectors of Crime Branch and Special Cell were empowered to obtain such details but taking a note of the misuse in light of the Jaitley case, the Delhi Police vested the authority with only the heads of districts i.e. Additional Commissioners of Police and Deputy Commissioners of Police.
The Cell did not disclose the names and the exact number of those targeted by the syndicate or the details of those who hired the services of the detectives. They could be divided into three broad categories, said the officer.
“The first group comprised individuals who hired the agencies to obtain call records of their family members or relatives. Another set included businessmen seeking call details of their rivals who were vying for the same markets as them. The third category was found to be miscellaneous in nature with the seekers having different motives,” he said not ruling out the presence of public figures, including politicians, in the third group.