The Mumbai Police Crime Branch arrested two students for allegedly running portals that provided personal data of residents of Maharashtra, Delhi and Gujarat at a price.
The accused have been identified as Mulund-based siblings as Rahul Eligati (28) and Nikhil Eligati (25).
The police said that in this audacious data stealing case, data was sold mainly to loan recovery agents at a monthly subscription of Rs 2,000, a half-year subscription of Rs 12,000 and an annual subscription of Rs 24,000.
According to the police, after getting access to the website, just by feeding in the person’s name in the search option, the subscriber could get details like current and former cellphone numbers, Aadhaar card number, address, date of birth and phone numbers of family members, among other details.
The police found out that Nikhil has in the past worked as a loan recovery agent, through which he came to know about the source from where data of loan defaulters was obtained by companies.
The officials added that during the first Covid-19 lockdown, when Nikhil did not have a job, he and his brother procured the data and started two websites identified as http://www.tracenow.co. and http://www.fonivotech.com.
In this, once the accused enters a name, all the data linked to the person that he has not even shared with others, pops up, including personal numbers, Aadhaar card data, address, date of birth and numbers of other family members, added officials.
The police are now grilling them further to know how they got access to such a sensitive database.
The police said that the brothers were careful with whom they shared the database. “Only if someone approached them through a reference, did they take money and shared the ID and password of the websites. They were operating the websites as a start-up and one could approach them only if you came through a reference,” the officer said.
“We are questioning the two to find out if they had hacked some government website or if an insider at such places parted with sensitive data. Another line of investigation is whether the accused purchased this data from the dark net where sometimes personal data is dumped by cyber criminals and sold for a price,” the officer added.
Taking cognizance of the seriousness of the offence, the magistrate court remanded the brothers to police custody for 12 days. The police said that more arrests are likely in the case.