A hacker who had last year claimed that BJP leader Eknath Khadse had been in contact with fugitive Dawood Ibrahim over telephone was arrested Thursday night for using forged bills to back his allegations.
Gujarat-based hacker Manish Bhangale was booked under Section 468, 471 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) pertaining to forgery and Section 66 D of the Information Technology Act, ‘75 for cheating by personation by using computer resource, said a Mumbai Police spokesperson.
According to sources, the crime branch probe has found that the telephone bills that were used by the ‘ethical hacker’ to assert his claims were actually forged.
While addressing a press conference last year, Bhangale had claimed that he had hacked into the website of Pakistan Telecommunications Company Limited (PTCL) and found records of calls between Khadse and a Pakistan landline registered in the name of Dawood’s wife, Mehjabeen.
“However, during our probe we found that these mobile bills were fake and that he had forged the documents to back his claims,” said a senior official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Bhangale, who has been remanded in police custody until April 6, will now be interrogated on his motives.
“We have to probe whether he was doing this at the behest of any one person or was being used by a political party to create a controversy. In the past, when we had questioned him in connection with the case, he had denied having forged documents and claims that he got the bills after hacking into the account, which is a false claim. We have probed and found that he did not hack into PTCL but made fake bills on his computer,” revealed a source.
In June last year, when the allegation surfaced, the Mumbai Crime Branch probed the allegation and within hours of Bhangale’s ‘expose’ gave a clean chit to Khadse.
The probe was subsequently handed over to the State Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) which toed the Mumbai Police’s line and submitted a report to the state government giving a clean to Khadse.
The ATS also wrote to the Mumbai Police to probe the case further and the matter was handed over to the cyber cell of the Mumbai crime branch.