Two officials of the green ministry and UPSC, accused in the corporate espionage case, shared a Gmail account to upload scanned copies of the stolen documents. This modus operandi has been used by the Indian Mujahideen (IM).
Jatinder Nagpal, 40, and Vipan Kumar, 42 had a shared Gmail account in which they used to upload scanned copies of stolen documents as ‘draft emails’ and stored them in drafts, the Delhi police said.
They would then individually access the shared account and open the other’s draft email, reading and analysing them without actually sending the emails, a senior crime branch official said. The two also shared password of the account with their clients so that the beneficiaries could open the draft folder and get a print out of the documents. The password was frequently changed, the officer said.
This modus operandi is commonly used by IM militants who avoid the risks of leaving a “digital footprint” that can be traced. Mansoor Peerhboy who was part of IM’s north India module and was instrumental in carrying out terror strikes in north Indian cities in 2007-08, used this seemingly secured trick and wrote confidential missives as draft emails.
Another IM’s undercover agent Ajaz Sheikh, arrested last year by the special cell, used to receive commands from his handlers in Pakistan. It was Sheikh who sent emails to media houses after the Pune German bakery blast, Jama Masjid and Varanasi blasts. Al Qaeda terrorists began using this technique years ago.
During interrogation, sources in crime branch said, Nagpal and Kumar revealed that they had copied IM militants’ style for communicating with their accomplices.