The Neglected Cyber Forensics Issues Of Aarushi Murder Case

The Neglected Cyber Forensics Issues Of Aarushi Murder CaseInformation Technology Act, 2000 (IT Act 2000) was a landmark piece of legislation for India as it provided the base for Indian cyber law and matters related to the same. With gradual developments and amendments, issues pertaining to cyber crimes, cyber forensics, electronic evidences, cyber security, etc were also incorporated into the IT Act 2000.

Although the need for a comprehensive and holistic techno legal framework is still haunting Indian government yet there is no escape from the conclusion that Indian cyber law must also be repealed and replaced by a better piece of legislation. At the same time Indian law enforcement agencies must be suitably trained in the matters of cyber law, cyber crimes investigation, cyber forensics, etc.

In short, a techno legal skills development is need of the hour for our law enforcement agencies, lawyers, judges, etc. Presently, US agencies are training Indian law enforcement agencies for cyber related issues including cyber terrorism and Indian government must develop its own online skills development methods to do the same. As has been reported by Cjnews India, lack of adequate cyber forensics expertise is hindering the investigation and prosecution in many cases in India. The Aarushi murder case is one such case where cyber forensics and digital evidences were not properly used by the parties to the litigation. The same news report has been reproduced below for our readers.

In an in-depth research article by Perry4Law Organisation (P4LO) it has been revealed that the Aarushi murder case reflects poor cyber forensics usage by CBI and defense lawyers. The way investigation and prosecution was conducted in the Aarushi case, it is clear that electronic evidences were not given the importance that they deserved. It was very much possible to ascertain the truth with great certainty if electronic evidences were forensically acquired by CBI and the defense lawyers used the same while examination and cross examination of the prosecution witnesses.

However, the case was decided merely on the basis of circumstantial evidences that also relying upon many presumptions and circumstances. Some of these presumptions and circumstances could have been proved or disproved by using electronic evidence and cyber forensics methods.

Nevertheless, both CBI and defense lawyers neglected the cyber forensics angle and the case was decided by the lower court based upon the version given by CBI. It is not clear what would the fate of this case at the higher court level be as the High Court has to keep in mind many more considerations besides the circumstantial evidences on the basis of which the prosecution case rests.

The logs, details and data from the accessed websites, computer’s hard disk, router’s logs, etc could have provided valuable lead and evidences regarding the case, opines Praveen Dalal, the leading techno legal lawyer of Asia. The digital evidence from all available technology platforms and instruments must have been analysed in depth and they must have been used by the parties to the case for claiming rights and avoiding liabilities, says Dalal.

India has recently announced the digital India initiatives that intend to strengthen e-delivery of services in India. However, along with e-delivery of services, Indian government must also be ready to deal with increased cyber crimes. We have very few initiatives in India that are catering to the requirements of cyber crimes investigation and cyber forensics analysis of the growing cyber crimes and cyber contraventions happening in India. Indian government must ensure modernisation of law enforcement agencies of India as soon as possible along with making them accountable to the Parliament of India.

Home Ministry Intends To Take Legal Action Against Person Posting Misleading News At Facebook Regarding Rajnath Singh’s Son

Home Ministry Intends To Take Legal Action Against Person Posting Misleading News At Facebook Regarding Rajnath Singh’s SonSocial media or social networking websites have become important part of our lives. In fact, the digital India vision of the Narendra Modi government would also rely heavily upon social media websites. Along with the benefits there are many shortcomings of use of social media websites as well. These shortcomings are not because of the websites themselves but due to their abuses and illegal use by third parties. Of course, social media websites are required to observe cyber law due diligence (Pdf) and Internet intermediary obligations in India.

Social networking law for India has always been a controversial topic. Even the Congress government was in favour of having a law for social media in India. However, we have neither social media laws in India nor a social media policy of India till now. Even the cyber law of India deserves to be repealed and a better cyber law is need of the hour. Meanwhile, the social media websites are being abused by criminal elements for their nefarious activities.

It is also true that politicians and influential individuals have been abusing the draconian cyber law of India to settle scores. Social media websites are important part of civil liberties like speech and expression and any unreasonable curbing of the same would violate the constitutional protections. This is the reason why the Supreme Court of India has ruled that senior police officer’s permission is required for arresting a person for posting objectionable contents on social media websites.

It has been reported that the Home Ministry of India is planning to take legal action against the individual who has spread rumour about Home Minister’s son misconduct at Facebook. We at Perry4Law suggest that the first thing should be to coordinate with Facebook to ascertain the Internet protocol address (IP address) of the individual who has posted the rumour. Once that is done, IP address must be tracked back to the person who has used it at the relevant time. Special care must be taken about any IP spoofing event.

Once the IP address is successfully tracked back to a particular individual, cyber forensics methodologies must be applied to gather evidence that is admissible in a court of law. This is more so as an IP address alone is not sufficient to arrest and convict a person for the alleged crime. Finally, a senior police officer’s permission would be required to arrest the accused as per the procedure prescribed by Indian laws and as per applicable Supreme Court guidelines.

Rajesh And Nupur Talwar Would File Appeal At Allahabad High Court Today

Rajesh And Nupur Talwar Would File Appeal At Allahabad High Court TodayThe Aarushi Talwar’s murder case is a real complicated one. There is no direct evidence and the case has been decided based upon circumstantial evidences. A  CBI judge, in November 2013, held that the parents of Aarushi Talwar are guilty of the murder of their daughter and domestic help.

Now the convicted couple has decided to file an appeal before the Allahabad High Court on Tuesday i.e. 21-01-2014. An application for bail had also been attached with the appeal, with the matter likely to be listed for Thursday. The appeal runs into 2,200 pages, with the grounds for appeal being 600 pages long.

The lawyers for the convicted accused parents are appealing against issues like nature of burden of proof, improper witnesses and evidence, etc. These seem to be traditional criminal law related arguments.

The lawyers of the convicted parents seem to have ignored the digital evidence that, if proved successfully, could easily lead to their acquittal. This is more so when the central bureau of investigation (CBI) has failed to produce very credible cyber forensics evidence in the lower court.

When stakes are high it is not a good strategy to ignore and exclude crucial areas that can strengthen a lawyer’s case. Let us see how the appeal would be pursued at the Allahabad High Court in the near future.

Scientific And Legal Principles Are Essential For Sting Operations Of Aam Aadmi Party To Be Effective And Legally Admissible

Scientific And Legal Principles Are Essential For Sting Operations Of Aam Aadmi Party To Be Effective And Legally AdmissibleDigital evidences have their own peculiarities and legalities. They are required to comply with certain unique and additional safeguards before they can be considered to be admissible in a court of law. The cyber forensics trends and developments in India 2013 (PDF), provided by Perry4Law and Perry4Law’s Techno Legal Base (PTLB), have outlined certain issues that must be addressed by Indian government before cyber forensics can be suitably applied in India.

Not only this, cyber forensics best practices in India must also be developed. Similarly, India needs to strengthen cyber forensics and cyber crimes investigation capabilities so that cyber crime investigations can be successfully conducted. Even use of mobile forensics in India is very limited and for simple tasks of deleted message recovery, mobile phones are occasionally sent to central cyber forensics laboratories. This is severely increasing the backlog of cases at these forensics laboratories and this impedes the investigation and prosecution of the culprits.

At the same time, improperly acquired digital evidence may not be legally admissible. For instance, if the quality of digital evidence is not proper and it fails to prove the incriminatory aspect about the accused, it may not be admissible. The Anti-Corruption Bureau has recently reiterated this quality and incrimination aspect while analysing the digital material obtained during the sting operation drive of Aam Aadmi Party.

The TOI has reported that the Aam Aadmi Party’s sting operations seem to have little impact upon corrupt babus-so far. While about 30 people have acted on the chief minister’s advice to secretly record evidence of corruption, the government’s Anti-Corruption Bureau says most of these recordings are of such a poor quality that they cannot be a basis for action.

An officer told TOI: “People use mobile phones or other small recording devices. The recordings are not clear and the complainants have not asked incriminating questions. There is not enough concrete evidence in people’s sting operations”. He said only 10 of the 30 recordings received have been referred for inquiry and sent to forensic laboratory and even these may not stand legal scrutiny. “The weak stings only make our work difficult because although the files are piling up, the evidence cannot sustain the complaints for long,” said an official.

Within a week of its launch, the government’s anti-corruption helpline has received close to 40,000 calls and the officials are now guiding the callers on properly conducting sting operations.

Mobile Forensics Would Solve Paper Leak Case In India

Mobile Forensics Would Solve Paper Leak Case In IndiaMobile phones are frequently used for commissions of various crimes. These include traditional crimes as well as modern technology related crimes. Naturally, mobiles carry valuable digital evidence that is relevant for prosecution of the offender.

Although Indian law enforcement agencies are still far away from sophisticated mobile forensics investigations yet they may be required to do so in the near future. Similarly, the telecom companies of India are also not aware of the Indian laws pertaining to preservation of digital evidence pertaining to various cases. In particular, they are violating the provisions of information technology act, 2000 in general and the Information Technology (Intermediaries Guidelines) Rules, 2011 (PDF) in general.

The TOI has reported that the investigators have summoned 50 persons for questioning after establishing they had benefitted from the paper leak of a Northern Railway recruitment exam a few months ago. On December 8, the police arrested six persons for possessing coded slips of solved answers for the D-group entrance test from Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 46. Four cellphones were also recovered from them.

Sources said the 50 were identified following the scrutiny of two cellphone numbers being used by the mastermind. Interestingly, four of the accused had deleted SMSs of particular questions before entering the examination centre and investigators have not found any text message related to the questions on their cellphones.

Four cellphones were sent to Central Forensic Science Laborartory, Sector 36, for retrieving the deleted messages and the reports were pending. Police officials said six beneficiaries were not aware about the kingpin and obtained the messages through three middlemen.

This is a simple case of recovery of deleted messages from the mobile phones that can be done locally by the law enforcement agencies. In future, more complicated and challenging mobile forensics issues would arise and the Indian law enforcement agencies must be well prepared for the same.

Goa Police Is Waiting For Forensic Report Of Electronic Gadgets

Goa Police Is Waiting For Forensic Report Of Electronic GadgetsOne thing that is apparently missing from the investigation process of law enforcement agencies of India is the cyber forensics and cyber crimes investigation capabilities. In the past, investigative blunders were committed by the law enforcement agencies of India during Aarushi murder case, Nokia’s case, IPL match fixing case, etc. This is happening as there are no cyber forensics best practices in India that our law enforcement agencies can follow.

Recently the bail request of Tarun Tejpal was refused by the court while the digital evidence gathering is pending. DNA India has reported that the Goa police are expected to sum up their investigations in the sexual assault case allegedly involving Tehelka founder editor Tarun Tejpal and file a charge sheet by this month end.

The police are waiting for the forensic report of the gadgets seized from Tejpal. The crime branch during its investigation had seized gadgets like mobile, laptop of Tejpal which were used to communicate, after the alleged offence took place.

The crime branch officials expect to file a “water tight” case against Tejpal, who is currently lodged in Sada sub jail after the local court rejected his bail and continued with the judicial custody.

The digital evidence would play a crucial role to prove guilt or innocence of Tejpal. There is no doubt that the defence lawyer would consider the digital evidence in full detail and prosecution cannot afford to take the same lightly.

Cyber Forensics Best Practices Must Be Developed In India

Cyber Forensics Best Practices Must Be Developed In IndiaCyber forensics is a crucial techno legal field that is fast gaining importance world over. In the modern days criminal investigations, e-discovery and cyber forensics are essential part and parcel of the criminal investigation mechanism. In fact, the modernisation of police force in India is not at all possible till the law enforcement agencies of India are well versed in cyber crimes investigations and cyber forensics methodologies.

However, the cyber forensics trends and developments in India 2013 have outlined many cyber forensics related issues (PDF) that have to be managed by Indian government on a priority basis. In the absence of well defined cyber forensics best practices and procedures, the law enforcement agencies of India are committing many investigative blunders. Many crucial mistakes have already been committed while investigating the Aarushi murder case, Nokia’s case, IPL match fixing case, etc.

Some recent cases in this regard have also shown involvement of cyber forensics methodologies. The decision on the bail application of Tarun Tejpal is also pending while the digital evidence gathering is pending. Similarly, the security agencies of India would also be required to prove their allegations against the accused managing the dedicated Maoist rebel network through cyber forensics methodologies.

The Supreme Court of India is already hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) that has requested it to ask the Indian government to formulate regulations and guidelines for effective investigation of cyber crimes in India. There is no doubt that India needs to strengthen cyber forensics and cyber crimes investigation capabilities as soon as possible to meet the investigative requirements of the contemporary technology driven crimes.

Recently, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has notified the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Procedure for Search and Seizure) Regulations, 2014 (PDF). These regulations would require serious involvement of cyber forensics practices and methodologies for the investigations made under the same. Similarly, the economic offences wing (EOW) of the Mumbai Police is investigating the Rs 425 Crore QNet Scam. This investigation would also require sound techno legal expertise and possible use of e-discovery and cyber forensics methods.

The Bitcoins exchanges in India are also flourishing unregulated. Meanwhile it has been reported that Indian corporates are lobbying for regulated digital currency in India.  Recently the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) cautioned users of virtual currencies against various risks, including legal risks. The Enforcement Directorate (ED) also searched few Bitcoin websites in India as it believes that Bitcoins money can be used for hawala transactions and funding terror operations.

All these cases have proved that cyber forensics best practices in India must be developed as soon as possible as presently they are not at all followed in India. The sooner it is done the better it would be for the larger interest of legal and judicial system of India.

Tarun Tejpal’s Bail Plea To Be Heard Soon While Digital Evidence Gathering Is Pending

Tarun Tejpal's Bail Plea To Be Heard Soon While Digital Evidence Gathering Is PendingTechnological advances have impacted the way evidence is generated and collected. Digital evidence collection requires techno legal skills and highly skill oriented approach. If digital evidence is not collected properly, it may be inadmissible in a court of law. Thus, India needs to strengthen cyber forensics and cyber crimes investigation capabilities. This fact is well articulated in the cyber forensics trends and development of India 2013 (PDF).

For long a need has been felt that India must invest in scientific and technological investigation methodologies. Despite many attempts the same has not been achieved till now. We have many good cyber crime cells in India and we have few cyber forensics laboratories as well. However, in the absence of adequate financing and staffing, they all are overburdened and digital evidence is not made available on time and when required.

Law enforcement agencies of India are regularly seizing computers, laptops and other digital media and are sending them to cyber forensics laboratories. However, the backlog of such cases has increased tremendously and the cyber forensics laboratories are finding it difficult to provide the digital evidence on time. This is also impacting the judicial proceeding sin India as the truth of allegations cannot be ascertained till the forensic laboratory provides its report.

In one such case, the District and Sessions Court Judge Anuja Prabhudessai is likely to pronounce the order on the bail application of Tarun Tejpal on January 15. The Prosecution has maintained that a prima facie case has been made out and one is not required to go into the minute details of evidence collected. The prosecution maintains that there is no reason for the release of an applicant against whom a prima facie offence is made out.

The prosecution has also said that the cellphone, computer and laptop seized during investigation have been sent to a forensic laboratory and are yet to be accessed. The content stored in the laptop and cellphone are yet to be seen and the fullest opportunity should be given to the investigating officer to investigate the case.

As this case would progress, the digital evidence would play a crucial role and the defence lawyer would also be required to analyse the digital evidence to prove and strengthen his case.

Indian Security Agencies Claim To Have Unrevealed Dedicated Maoist Rebel Network

Indian Security Agencies Claim To Have Unrevealed Dedicated Maoist Rebel NetworkUse of information and communication technology (ICT) for criminal activities is well known. World over cyber criminals and terrorists have been using ICT to further their nefarious activities. Law enforcement and security agencies around the world are trying to infiltrate these technological platforms so that they can prevent untoward incidences before they are committed.

India has launched projects like Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS), National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC), Central Monitoring System (CMS), Internet Spy System Network And Traffic Analysis System (NETRA) of India, etc to infiltrate these technological platforms. Unfortunately, none of them are governed by any Legal Framework and none of them are under Parliamentary Scrutiny.

In one such incidence, the security and law enforcement agencies of India have claimed to have dedicated Maoist rebel network. According to Telegraph India, Delhi University professor G.N. Saibaba was questioned yesterday over alleged Maoist links, nearly four months after police searched his home and days after top rebel leader G. Venkatakrishna Prasad surrendered.

Sources in security agencies had said there was a post on a “Maoist-friendly network” saying “What should I do now?” and attributed it to Saibaba. The agencies interpreted the post on the “dedicated rebel network” as an attempt to seek directions from senior CPI (Maoist) leaders. The agencies are trying to unravel the “network” that is understood to be a communication backbone of the Maoists, sources said.

Saibaba’s questioning revolved around files found on his computer’s hard disc during the search. He was “confronted” with the files and the findings of cyber experts who had scanned them over the past few months. The documents allegedly relate to strategy and tactics of Maoists, but the sleuths focused on the source of the information as such material is available in the public domain too.

Saibaba said in a statement later that he had co-operated with the cops. “They sought information and clarifications regarding my political activity as well as my academic interests. I extended my co-operation to the fullest and answered their doubts and questions to the best of my abilities and without any restraint. I hope that I have satisfactorily addressed all their concerns and that the matter will be laid to rest now.”

However, it is not clear whether the findings of cyber experts were supported with sound and admissible cyber forensics evidence. We hope that the blunders committed by the law enforcement agencies of India during Aarushi murder case, Nokia’s case, IPL match fixing case, etc have not been repeated by the law enforcement agencies in this case.

India Needs To Strengthen Cyber Forensics And Cyber Crimes Investigation Capabilities

India Needs To Strengthen Cyber Forensics And Cyber Crimes Investigation CapabilitiesCyber forensics and e-discovery are two crucial areas that have gained tremendous importance in the modern day technology crimes investigations. It is difficult to imagine a cyber crime investigation without the use of e-discovery and cyber forensics.

Surprisingly, despite the importance of cyber forensics, the Indian approach towards the same has been of apathy. The same has been adequately covered by the cyber forensics trends and developments in India 2013 by Perry4Law and Perry4Law’s Techno Legal Base (PTLB). The cyber forensic investigation solutions in India need to be developed to better utilise cyber forensics methods.

Cyber forensics has been increasingly used for ascertaining the guilt or innocence of accused persons. Cyber forensics investigation covers various fields like cloud computing, network forensics, mobile forensics, memory forensics, audio forensics, video forensics, media forensics, etc.

Cyber forensics is also applied to areas like Internet Protocol (IP) address tracking, e-mail sender tracking, hidden Internet and deep web analysis, etc. However, an IP Address should not be sole criteria to arrest and punish an accused.

We have no cyber forensics best practices in India and cyber forensics is conducted in a casual manner. Recently the forensics analysis of Nokia’s computer was undertaken but till now it is not clear what its outcome was. Similarly, lack of use of cyber forensics best practices in IPL Match Fixing Case may jeoparadise it. Even the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) committed a Cyber Forensics Blunder in Aarushi murder case. Now the Enforcement Directorate (EC) is seized with investigation of violations of Indian laws by Bitcoins websites operating in India. The Enforcement Directorate must use e-discovery and cyber forensics methods to detect possible legal violations by Bitcoin websites.

These problems are further aggravated doe to absence of proper and systematic cyber crime investigations in India. So severe is the situation public interest litigation has been filed at the Supreme Court of India to direct the Indian government to ensure regulations and guidelines for effective investigation of cyber crimes in India.

Digital evidence and scientific approach is still missing from Indian legal and judicial system though some progress in the directions of computerisation of courts and use of video conferencing facilities has taken place. We still have to cover a long gap before we can ensure e-courts in India and use of e-discovery and cyber forensics for legal and judicial purposes. The sooner we take initiatives in these directions the better it would be for the larger interest of India.