Snooping agency's clients to be booked for phone tap

The clients of a private detective agency who availed a phone tapping service, primarily to spy on spouses or partners, will be charged with violations of the IT Act and the Telegraph Act for illegally accessing private information, police officials probing the private phone snooping racket stated.

The Central Crime Branch of the Bangalore police had on November 6 announced the arrest of the owner of a private detective agency Nikhil Giri for providing a private phone snooping service to hundreds of clients using a software tool developed by a Pune based software engineer Virendra Singh Rawat. Nikhil Giri and Rawat are the only two named in the case so far.

Several mobile numbers from all over India were spied on in the last one year using the snooping software system developed by Rawat, police said.

Senior police officials said the investigations were trying to identify the complete list of clients who availed the illegal phone tapping services offered by the detective agency both from the computer files and other records maintained by the detective agency.

"We suspect the software was also sold to other detective agencies in the country by the developer Rawat,'' a police official said.

The detective agency owner and the software developer have been booked under sections of the Information Technology Act, the Indian Telegraph Act and the Indian Penal Code. The software was developed by Rawat for two Peruvian nationals Roberto Martinez and Piero Meza who sought the software tool for their Peru based company Controlem Employee Monitoring.

The company, on its website, claims to provide employers a detailed "look at all the activities of your employees by recording the use of each programme installed and web searches,'' says the Controlem website. Police sources said the Peruvian founders of Controlem were not complicit in the phone tapping and email hacking illegal activities in India. Rawat is suspected to have employed code writers to create a mobile version of the software he developed for the Peru company to enable snooping on smart phones. Rawat tied up with Controlem in Peru to co-develop and host software he developed on their servers but later used the software for his own end, police sources said.

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