Two officials stole sensitive government documents without leaving “digital footprints” in the corporate espionage case, using a trick perfected by Islamic terrorists, investigators have unearthed.
Jatinder Nagpal, 40, and Vipan Kumar, 42 – officials in the green ministry and UPSC -- shared a “Gmail” account in which they used to upload scanned copies of stolen documents and leave them as “draft”, a senior crime branch official told HT.
Delhi police last month busted a syndicate involved in stealing classified government documents and selling them to energy companies in what has now emerged as one of the biggest corporate espionage rackets in the country.
The police official said the two accused would then individually access the shared account and open the other’s draft emails, reading and analysing them without actually sending the emails, the official added.
According to police, the two also shared the password of the account with their clients so that the beneficiaries could open the draft folder and get printouts of the documents. The password was frequently changed, the officer said.
Police sources said this modus operandi is commonly used by Indian Mujahideen operatives 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 undercover agent Ajaz Sheikh, arrested last year by the special cell, used to receive commands from his handlers in Pakistan, who used the same method.
It was Sheikh who sent emails to media houses after the Pune German bakery blast, Jama Masjid and Varanasi blasts. Al Qaeda terrorists too had used this technique years ago, police sources said.
During interrogation, sources in crime branch said, Nagpal and Kumar admitted they had copied IM terrorists’ style for communicating with their accomplices.