The community of ethical hackers in the city is left wondering about techie Amit Vikram Tiwari (32), an alleged global hacker, who was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) following inputs obtained from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for his alleged links with the racket involving hacking of 900 email accounts belonging to people from across the world.
An ethical hacker said, “We are unaware of Amit. After learning about his arrest in such a high profile case, we are gathering information about him from our sources. Though there isn’t a rule that hackers should stay connected, generally all ethical hackers in the city know each other. However, we never came across Amit, who is said to be an operator of hacking websites”.
Amit’s family members refused to comment on the case. Son of a retired colonel of the Indian Army, they reside in bungalow number 45 in Florida Estate, Keshav Nagar, Mundhwa. When contacted, his father Col (retired) Tiwari said, “Sorry, I have nothing to say about the case.”
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When asked whether a lawyer was appointed to fight Amit’s case, his father said, “A lot of things have already appeared in the media. It is better not to comment on the case.”
Residents of Florida Estate were left shocked to know about Amit’s arrest. A resident said, “We do not know him very well. But, we know that he belongs to a respected family. We have never heard of his involvement in any wrong activity. We came to know about his arrests through media. It was surprising to know that he was arrested in connection with the international hacking racket.”
The CBI team reached Florida Estate on Friday morning. They seized Amit’s laptops, cellphones and documents in connection with the case. Later, the CBI sleuths produced Amit before the Pune chief judicial magistrate to seek his transit remand, which was granted. The CBI will now produce Amit before a court in Delhi on January 27. Amit was also arrested by the Mumbai Police in 2003 in a credit card fraud case. He was then a student of engineering in a city-based college.
According to the CBI, Amit has now been arrested as part of an international investigation coordinated and conducted by the Central Bureau of Investigation, FBI (US), Combating Organised Crime of Romania, and Ministry of Public Security in the People’s Republic of China. The CBI has registered two cases against Amit and other unknown persons under several sections of the Indian Penal Code and IT Act.
It has been alleged that Amit hacked into the account of individuals for a fee ranging between $250 and $500. He also managed two websites http://www.hirehacker.net and http://www.anonymiti.com from Pune. According to the CBI, operators of the websites are allegedly responsible for obtaining unauthorised access to over 900 email accounts between February 2011 and February of 2013. Out of these, about 171 email accounts pertain to people based in India. The CBI had also conducted search operations in Ghaziabad and Mumbai.
The Pune police said the CBI did not take their help in the investigation. “We are closely studying the developments in this case as the prime suspects have been arrested from Pune,” a police official said.
A notice was put up at the Mundhwa police station on Friday, directing police officials to not register a missing person complaint against Amit.