The cyber police on Tuesday arrested four employees of an information technology (IT) company for allegedly disrupting the Internet network of Maharashtra Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) last year.
The four accused have been identified as Bangalore residents Prasanna Salimath (37) and Ramprasad Buduguru (47), Kandivali resident Balu Bamne (27) and Gogineni Venkateshwarlu (52) from Navi Mumbai. The accused were produced before the metropolitan magistrate court, which remanded them to police custody till August 10.
The four were employees of an IT company that in the past had worked for the MTNL. Police suspect that the accused disrupted MTNL’s network hoping that the new IT company, which had bagged the maintenance contract, would not be able to solve the problem and they would be called again.
An officer said that between July 15 and July 19 last year, there were disruptions in the MTNL network at its Cuffe Parade office, which deals with GSM customers, 3G services, new SIM cards as well as value added services activation and deactivation.
According to the compliant filed by the company, after an application stopped functioning, work at the office was hampered for two days. The complainant, an MTNL employee, told the police that it also impacted MTNL’s reputation in the eyes of the customers.
The employee had initially approached the Cuffe Parade police station and later went to the joint commissioner of police (Crime). Eventually, the matter was handed over the BKC cyber police station where an FIR was registered on charges of cheating and under the Information Technology Act.
After the police inspected the firewall log of MTNL, they found that the internet protocol (IP) address, which was used to create disruptions in the network, belonged to an employee of the IT company. “The IT company had the maintenance contract for MTNL from 2014 to June 30, 2017. From July 1, 2017, the contract was given to another company. The problem arose within weeks of the new company taking over,” an officer said.