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Data theft accused arrested in Gurgaon

ACME is alleging that its source codes may have been used to develop other softwares, reports Sanjeev K Ahuja

india Updated: Oct 09, 2006 23:16 IST

The Gurgaon police on Monday arrested the former employee of a software-development company who allegedly stole its proprietary data and transferred it to a rival firm. The police claimed it also recovered patented drawings and other related proprietary software from the accused's laptop.

Sachidanand Patnaik, who is at present employed with Lamda Eastern telecom, was produced in a local court on Monday. The court remanded him in judicial custody for 14 days. He has been booked under section 65 and 72 of IT Act 2000 besides 379, 480, 420 and 109 sections of IPC.

A director and a managing director, Surender Goel, of the firm he works for at present have also been named in the FIR for abetting the theft. Goel has been hospitalised in Delhi.

Gurgaon SSP Hanif Qureshi said the preliminary investigation point towards Sachidanand. "He seem to be guilty of stealing proprietary software, patented drawings and of destroying source codes owned by Acme Telepower," he said.

"We have recovered power software of the Traders integrated unit (TIU) and Line Control Unit (LCU) and high level power control data from his personal e-mail id. We have also found a number of patented drawings which originally belonged to ACME from his laptop from his house," said the SSP.

Qureshi said the role of Sachidanand's employers (Lamda) was also being probed. The SSP has now appointed the deputy superintendent of police (crime) Rajesh Kalia as the investigating officer of the case. 

Before his arrest, Sachidanand Patnaik told the Hindustan Times that the only crime he had committed was that he copied three files containing proprietary drawings and other software to his laptop before leaving the company.  

A resident of Saraswati Vihar, Patnaik said, "But I did not give the data to my new employer nor did I use it anywhere. Another major mistake I made was that I quit the office on April 2 without informing ACME.

"The ACME management do not want me to work their competitors company Lamda because they fear that I would develop the softwares which they make."    

Rakesh Prakash, the director marketing, Lamda said that the complainant company ACME's allegations that his source codes were used to develop softwares.

"We developed the software according to the specifications laid by our client Airtel. Our software is an improved version of what ACME had earlier produced and supplied to Airtel. ACME only suspects that his modules and source codes have been used in this, which is baseless," he added.

Sandeep Kashyap of ACME said that his company was consulting legal experts for filing cases against Lamda for recovery of damages as well as under patent laws as their products were misused.