The CBI on Friday arrested a 32-year-old techie from Pune after a tip-off from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) about a racket involving hacking of 900 e-mail accounts belonging to people from across the world, including Americans and Indians.
The CBI claimed Amit Vikram Tiwari — son of a colonel — had allegedly hacked the 900 e-mail accounts in a very short span. Tiwari was earlier arrested by Mumbai Police in 2003 in connection with a credit card fraud case.
Following the FBI tip-off, the CBI carried out raids in Ghaziabad, Mumbai and Pune during which several professional hackers were rounded up. Tiwari was arrested and taken on transit remand to Delhi by the CBI team. His computers and other gadgets were seized.
According to the CBI, the e-mail accounts of 171 Indians and more than 700 foreign nationals, including Americans, had been hacked.
CBI sleuths said they also suspect Tiwari might have indulged in other acts, including those related to national security and corporate espionage.
The agency said the raids were part of a coordinated action involving the agencies of China, Romania, the US and India. This was the first time the CBI had tied up with international investigation agencies to launch an operation against cyber crime in India. Earlier, the agencies mostly coordinated on terror-related issues.
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Tiwari has been booked under provisions of the IPC and Information Technology Act in two separate cases. The CBI alleged that Tiwari hacked into accounts of individuals for a fee ranging between $250 and $500. He also ran two websites called http://www.anonymiti.com and http://www.hireahacker.com.
In August 2003, Tiwari, who was then an engineering student, was arrested from Pune when he defrauded a Mumbai-based credit card processing company, CC Avenue, of Rs 9 lakh. In the latest case, CBI believes Tiwari assumed identifies and sent out ads in newspapers, offering his services. He also reportedly owned several bank accounts in which the customers were asked to deposit the money. He then supplied the e-mail details and passwords to his clients.