NEW DELHI: In the dock once in 2006 for illegally tapping former SP leader Amar Singh’s phone, private detective Anurag Singh’s business only boomed since stepping out of jail. He was now providing his high-profile clients with secure mobile phones and laptops on which conversations or e-mails could not be tapped.
Delhi Police is planning to quiz BJP leader Sudhanshu Mittal this week as they suspect an “inside BJP tussle” to be behind the design to seek call detail records (CDRs) of top BJP leader Arun Jaitley, ex-BJP President Nitin Gadkari and businessmen Nitin Shah and Vivek Nagpal. Mittal has admitted to knowing Anurag Singh, who a Delhi Police officer said was now the suspected mastermind of the racket. The officer said Singh had planned to sell the CDRs for a ‘handsome amount’ to certain other businessmen that was much more than the Rs 1500 per CDR he had promised to three other accused arrested in the case.
“Singh claims this would have allowed him to build contacts in BJP and helped him in the ongoing trial against him in the Amar Singh case,” the officer said. What has left police amazed is the level of sophistication and cyber-technical wizardry at Singh’s disposal at his office in Competent House in Connaught Place where he runs his firm, VDetect.
Boasting of ‘global corporate intelligence skills’, the firm specialises in under-cover operations and its latest offering was secure mobile phones and laptops, something which even found mention in home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde’s statement to Parliament on Friday. “Singh had sourced technology from abroad… He was also providing laptops, which promised secure e-mail communications,” aDelhi Police officer said.
Designated government agencies listen in to phone conversations and monitor e-mails and SMSes after due permission from the home secretary. Lately, there has been proliferation in off-the-air interceptors being used illegally for phone tapping. Anurag Singh had a steady clientele of high-profile businessmen who desired such secure communication devices which would convert their conversations into a coded language difficult to intercept, sources say. Police found that Singh’s own phone and laptop was “secured” in the same manner and top-level government IT experts had to be called in to break open the data. Police are now probing how Singh managed to bring in such equipments with encryption capabilities from abroad, including Israel.
36-year-old Singh lives in Defence Colony and his parents were senior officials of the Customs department. Delhi Police concede Singh was the go-to man for them and IB before 2005 for cyber probes — he is said to have helped police crack the cricket match-fixing case involving Hansie Cronje and the DPS MMS scandal. However, in late 2005, he allegedly used his knowledge of how police works to turn rogue and audaciously succeeded in getting Amar Singh’s phone tapped. As per the police chargesheet, Singh allegedly prepared two forged and fabricated letters of the Delhi JCP (crime) and principal secretary (home) to secure a parallel line from a private telecom service provider to listen in to Amar Singh’s Delhi landline phone. He is also accused by the police of editing and tampering parts of the tapped conversations of Amar Singh and trying to offer them for sale to media outlets.
However, as per Amar Singh’s affidavit before the Supreme Court in 2011, intriguingly it was Anurag who also tipped off Amar Singh that his phone was being tapped. “The petitioner (Amar Singh) was informed by Anurag Singh that his phone was being tapped at the behest of 32 political opponents,” the SC order said in 2011, expressing surprise how Amar Singh had sourced the two forged letters attached to his affidavit from Anurag Singh as well. “The petitioner (Amar Singh), therefore, largely relied on information received from an accused in a criminal case while he filed his petition,” the apex court order said.