Staff Reporter

Accused allegedly stole Internet telephony minutes worth Rs. 3 crores

NEW DELHI: Two computer professionals have been arrested by the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Crime Branch of Delhi police for allegedly stealing and selling Internet telephony minutes at a cheaper rate than that offered by the company. The accused had stolen minutes worth Rs. 3 crores.

A Delhi-based Internet telephony company, Net4India Limited, had lodged a complaint with the EOW in March this year saying that some one had illegally sold the Internet telephony minutes to unidentified people.

Investigations revealed that the company bought the Internet telephony accounts from companies based in the United States. Since the entire "stock" was online, all information about the accounts, including their secret passwords and PINs, were stored in the company's server. Only a few persons had access to the server.

On the intervening night of August 17 and 18, 2005, the server was accessed from the terminal of an employee Shikha. Investigations revealed that she was not present at the time of the illegal transaction. Further investigations revealed that the IP addresses used to access the information belonged to Hirdesh Sharma, another employee.

Hirdesh had managed to steal accounts worth Rs. 3 crores. He had sold accounts worth Rs. 2 crores to one Manoj Jindal, a resident of Chandigarh. While Hirdesh was arrested in the Capital, Manoj was arrested at Mohali.

The police said Hirdesh, a network manager, had also created fake e-mail IDs which he used to sell the unique passwords and PINs of the Internet telephony accounts. He had also failed to execute the sale accounts -- which he had stolen using Shikha's computer -- but managed to succeed the next time. He had been involved in cheating his employer since August last year.

During interrogation, Manoj allegedly told the police that he had further sold the telephony accounts to people in Ahmedabad and Hyderabad. The police are now probing further leads in the case.