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HindustanTimes Thu,24 Apr 2014

'Curious' student hacks into celeb e-taxation accounts

Debasish Panigrahi, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, September 26, 2013
First Published: 01:27 IST(26/9/2013) | Last Updated: 01:30 IST(26/9/2013)

Curiosity about how much some of India’s celebrated cricketers, industrialists and Bollywood stars earn and pay in taxes prompted a 22-year-old student to hack into the e-taxation accounts of Anil Ambani, Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, Sachin Tendulkar and MS Dhoni, to name a few. Last week, the Mumbai police tracked down and booked chartered accountant student.

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The student hacked into the accounts using a computer at the Noida-based CA firm with whom he was pursuing his articleship.

Officials from Mumbai’s cyber crime investigation cell (CCIC) stumbled upon this hacker accidentally early this month while they were investigating a similar case involving the hacking of Anil Ambani’s e-filing account by a 21-year-old woman from a Hyderabad firm.

The woman had got into Ambani’s account in June by changing the password. “While going through Ambani’s e-mail account, we found it had been hacked a fortnight prior to this,” a CCIC official said.

The police traced the IP address to a CA firm in Noida and raided it on September 16. When the police zeroed in on the PC used, they discovered it was being used by a 22-year-old CA student, officials said.

On scanning his e-mail account, the police found that he had also hacked into e-filing accounts of other celebrities. “When questioned, the hacker claimed he just wanted to know how these rich and famous people were filing their IT returns and how much assets they owned,” the official revealed.

Following this revelation, the police got in touch with the chartered accountants of these celebrities, who admitted that their clients’ accounts had been hacked and that they had changed the passwords of the concerned e-filing accounts on discovering that they had been hacked.

The police appear to be in no mood to treat this misdemeanour lightly. “We have collected solid evidence and through this case we will send out a strong message to such mischief mongers and malevolent hackers,” said Himanshu Roy, joint commissioner of police, crime.

The 22-year-old has been booked under sections of the Information Technology Act and will be charge-sheeted soon. Sources said the accused is likely to be brought to the city this week to record his statement.

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