Mobile 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.