(IndiaToday) – Mumbai Police’s Cyber Crime Investigation Cell, on Monday, arrested four people for leaking fourth episode of TV series Game of Thrones from the current season before it was aired in India. The leak, police revealed, was carried out by employees of a Mumbai-based company.
The complaint in this case was filed by the said company which was tasked with storing and processing the episodes for Hotstar app. After the leak, the firm which deals in technological aid to media companies carried out an internal enquiry which revealed that the episode was accessed using ID of their employee Abhishekh Ghadiyal. But the stolen data was sent using email account of an ex-employee Mohammed Suhail.
Police has arrested Ghadiyal, Suhail, Bhaskar Navinchandra Joshi and Alok Sharma in the case.
During the course of investigation, police found that Ghadiyal was aided by his colleague Joshi and the episode was later forwarded to Sharma for uploading.A case has been registered under sections 408 (Criminal breach of trust by clerk or servant) and 34 (common intention) of IPC and 43 (damage to computer, computer system, etc.) and 66 (computer related offences) of the IT Act.
STATEMENT FROM STAR INDIA PRIVATE LIMITED AND NOVI DIGITAL PRIVATE LIMITED:
Star India Private Limited and Novi Digital Private Limited gave a complaint to the office of Special IGP (Cyber), Government of Maharashtra, informing that an episode (season 7, episode 4) of Game of Thrones, which was scheduled to be aired for viewing in USA and India on August 7, 2017 at 0730 hours (local time) was leaked and made available for viewing on the internet.
We have just learnt from law enforcement agencies about the significant progress made by them into the investigation of the breach of episode 4 of Game of Thrones Season 7, including the arrest of 4 individuals associated with our technology vendor, Prime Focus Technologies.
We are extremely delighted with the speed and rigour with which the Office of the Special Inspector General of Police Mr. Brijesh Singh (Cyber), Government of Maharashtra and office of DCP Cyber Cell, Mumbai have moved on this investigation.
This is the first time in the history of Star India that an incident of this nature has occurred. We are deeply grateful to the police for their swift and prompt action. We believe that valuable intellectual property is a critical part of the development of the creative industry and strict enforcement of the law is essential to protecting it.
We at Star India and Novi Digital Entertainment Private Limited stand committed and ready to help the law enforcement agencies with any technical assistance and help they may require in taking the investigation to its logical conclusion.
STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF SPECIAL IGP TO MEDIA:
Star India Private Limited and Novi Digital Private Limited gave a complaint to the office of Special IGP, Mr. Brijesh Singh (Cyber), Government of Maharashtra, informing that an episode (season 7, episode 4) of Game of Thrones – an HBO adaptation of a fantasy novel series, A Song of Ice and Fire authored by George RR Martin, which was scheduled to be aired for viewing in USA and India on August 7, 2017 at 0730 hours (local time), was leaked and made available for viewing on the internet by some persons.
Officers of the Cyber and PAW, Government of Maharashtra, conducted preliminary enquiry and basis the electronic trail and other technical material, zeroed in on Prime Focus Technologies – the agency contracted by Star India Private Limited to manage the data, as being responsible for the illegal leakage of the episode.
The material collected by the department, together with the opinion, was sent to the office of DCP (Cyber), BKC, Mumbai for further investigation and necessary penal action in accordance with law.
At this stage, Prime Focus Technologies came forward and accepting that the leakage had happened at its end, lodged a complaint (FIR) against one of its serving employee and alleging that he along with another former employee and other persons unauthorizedly gained access to the episode and thereafter illegally leaked the same for viewing by the general public over the internet.
A joint team from the office of Cyber and PAW, Government of Maharashtra and the office of DCP (Cyber), BKC, Mumbai, led by an Assistant Commissioner of Police, swooped in on the Bangalore office of Prime Focus Technologies from where the leakage was apprehended to have occurred and carried out interrogation of the employees throughout the night on August 11, 2017.
The investigation revealed complicity and involvement of more persons than those specifically named in the FIR, particularly the ones working in the office and otherwise lawfully having access to the raw data of the series. Investigation was simultaneously being carried out by Police Inspector Sardesai at the Police Station.
The information and material collected at the Bangalore office and the Mumbai Police station was collated, studied and analysed by the police. On being satisfied that the material collected by the investigating agency sufficiently established the role and involvement of various persons – both, existing and former employees as well as outsiders — arrest of 04 persons was affected on August 14, 2017.
All the accused persons were produced before the court of Magistrate. A prayer was made for their custodial interrogation and the court has been pleased to send the accused persons to police custody for 7 days, i.e., till August 21, 2017.
The police is still continuing with the investigation. The unfortunate incident of leakage, perhaps, a first instance of cybercrime of its kind in India, has been handled with deft professionalism by the office of Special IGP, Mr. Brijesh Singh (Cyber), Government of Maharashtra and the Mumbai Police.