Central Crime Branch officials have arrested a Bangalore-based private detective along with a software engineer from Pune for installing illegal software on cellphones, which allowed them to tap the phones of hundreds of individuals in and around the city on behalf of their clients.
The police said that the offence amounted to not only a violation of privacy laws, but also attracted penal action under Information Technology Act, Indian Telegraph Act and Indian Penal Code.
A team raided Lynx Security & Detective Services Pvt. Ltd. on Primrose Road and arrested Nikhil Giri, accused of using snooping software on Android and Blackberry mobile phones for monitoring phone calls and text messages. They confiscated computers, hard discs, mobile phones, Android application package, cash and other records.
The targets were reportedly involved in domestic disputes or business rivalry with the firm’s clients.
The CCB officials said the agency hired Virendra Singh Rawat, a mobile software developer based in Pune, who had, with the help of others, developed the snooping software. Rawat, in turn, had tied up with a company based in Peru to co-develop and host the software on their servers.
Both Nikhil Giri and Virendra Singh Rawat were arrested, produced before the court and remanded in police custody.
How it works
The client would have to take possession of the target’s mobile for a while and clandestinely enter a number by accessing a website and enter a particular number after which the snooping software is automatically installed on the phone. The target would be unaware of it.
Then, all conversations, messages, e-mails, chats, pictures and videos, as well as location data, would be automatically accessible to them.
Investigations revealed that people all over India had been snooped upon in the last year.
The company was reportedly charging as much as Rs. 65,000 to Rs. 1 lakh from the clients for the service.