On Tuesday, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and state police forces conducted searches at 105 locations around the country for “cyber-enabled financial crimes” based on information from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Interpol.
As part of their “Operation Chakra,” police in six different states and Union Territories conducted raids and searches, including Andaman and Nicobar (at four different locations), New Delhi (at five different locations), Chandigarh (at three different locations), and Punjab, Karnataka, and Assam (at two different locations each).
The CBI searched a total of 87 sites, while the state and UT police searched a total of 18. A total of almost 300 possible suspects have been identified.
“CBI alone has conducted searches in around 80 sites within 13 states. The agency also obtained assistance for the raids from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police,” sources claimed.
The CBI was able to retrieve Rs 1.5 crore in cash and 1.5 kg in gold from a single location in Rajasthan. The accused was allegedly operating an unauthorized call center. In addition, two of these call centers were busted in Ahmedabad and Pune. In the United States, they were involved in call center fraud. A CBI official added, “We have informed the FBI, and they are following up on this information.”
According to sources, the CIA has also recovered digital evidence, including details of dark web cybercrime and money transactions. Also, a suspect connected to this incident has been located in Punjab.
The CBI’s cybercrime division is in charge of coordinating this operation. The Cyber Crime Investigation Division, the CBI’s newly established foreign operations division, is strengthening these global operations.
The CBI is leading these operations in preparation for the upcoming Interpol conference in Delhi (beginning on October 18).
Russian hacker arrest
The Delhi Rouse Avenue Court instructed the CBI to hold a Russian national for two days. On Monday, he was arrested at the airport upon his return from Kazakhstan after the CBI issued a Lookout Circular for the case of software tampering in the JEE Mains-2021 exam.
The CBI claims that throughout their investigation, it became clear that some foreign nationals had conspired with other accused individuals to compromise numerous online examinations, including the JEE (Mains).
One Russian national’s alleged involvement in tampering with the Leon software (the platform on which the JEE (Main)-2021 examination was conducted) and in assisting other accused in hacking the computer systems of suspect applicants during the examination was exposed.
Updates on additional CBI operations
There was a nationwide crackdown on drug trafficking on September 29, and 175 persons were arrested as a result of efforts by central agencies, state police forces, and Interpol. They found 45 kilograms of illegal narcotics.
The CBI, the Narcotics Control Bureau, and the police forces of Punjab, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Manipur, and Maharashtra conducted the searches. Following the searches, 6,600 people were questioned, 127 new cases were opened, and 175 people, including six escaped prisoners, were arrested. The CBI stated that the operation, code-named “Operation Garuda,” was conducted in coordination with Interpol.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has initiated a multi-stage “Operation GARUDA” with the primary goal of trying to disrupt, degrade, and dismantle international drug networks through the rapid exchange of criminal intelligence on drug trafficking and coordinated law enforcement actions across international jurisdictions via Interpol. In close collaboration with Interpol and the Narcotics Control Bureau, this international operation was launched to prevent the smuggling of illegal drugs and psychotropic substances, with a primary focus on the Indian Ocean region.
“Drug trafficking networks with international ties require law enforcement cooperation across international jurisdiction,” the CBI stated in a statement.
The CBI also initiated “Operation Megh Chakra” and conducted nationwide searches at about 59 locations in 21 states and UTs in two cases involving the downloading/distribution of CSAM last week (Child Sexual Abuse Material).