The Delhi Police arrested three private detectives and their accomplice last week, busting an inter-state racket selling phone call data records (CDRs) of individuals for Rs 50,000 to Rs 5 lakh.
The quartet allegedly collected CDRs for their clients from Narendra Choudhary, an Uttar Pradesh Police constable posted in the surveillance cell of the inspector general’s office in Kanpur, senior officers said on Sunday.
The cop was allegedly obtaining CDRs from nodal agencies and mobile service providers, using the official email accounts of senior UP Police officers he was working with or had worked with in the past.
The CDRs belonged to people they were spying for their clients, who approach private detective agencies for surveillance in a range of issues such as suspicions of adultery, moves of business rivals, love affairs, civil and legal disputes, and match-making.
The racket was operating for over two years and Narendra allegedly provided more than 500 CDRs during the period, Delhi Police joint commissioner of police (crime branch) Ravindra Yadav said.
The constable has yet to be arrested and Delhi Police crime branch officers alleged that their UP counterparts were not cooperating. Kanpur police denied the accusation, saying Narendra was handed over to Delhi Police.
Officers said more details would be out during questioning of arrested private detectives Jaiveer Singh Rathore, Pankaj Tiwary, and Aditya Sharma along with senior sales manager Sanjeev Chaudhary of BLS Management Solution Pvt Ltd.
This is the third such racket police have busted in as many years. Call data theft had become a major issue after 12 people, including three Delhi Police personnel, were arrested for allegedly obtaining CDRs of senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley in 2013.
Aditya was among those arrested in the Jaitley case. His real name is Arpit, but he changed to Aditya after staying in jail for two months.
“Among the four, Rathore and Chaudhary were the main beneficiaries. Narendra’s interrogation will unravel names of other clients. We suspect Narendra sold thousands of CDRs,” joint commissioner of police Yadav said.
To avoid detection by cyber police, the constable would open an email account and attach CDRs in the draft folder but wouldn’t send the mail. “He would share the account’s password with Rathore, who downloaded the CDRs from the draft. Once the job is done, Narendra would delete the account. He would open a new email account each time he wanted to provide CDRs to his clients,” Yadav said.
The nexus was busted after crime branch personnel were tipped off about CDRs being sold at Scorpion Verification and Consultancy Pvt Ltd, a detective agency at Janakpuri in western Delhi. Investigation eventually led to the quartet. Kanpur senior superintendent of police Shalabh Mathur said Delhi Police didn’t provide any evidence against the constable or an arrest warrant. “We will take stringent action in case the investigation finds anything substantial against the constable.”