MPPEB Scam Investigation Raises Interesting Cyber Forensics Issues

MPPEB Scam Investigation Raises Interesting Cyber Forensics IssuesThe MPPEB scam’s is a curious development of cyber forensics and related aspects in India. The Special Investigation Team (SIT) monitoring the probe has already informed the Madhya Pradesh High Court that documents used by Digvijaya Singh to target Shivraj Singh Chouhan are forged. However, this fact is vociferously contested by the whistleblower of the case known as “Mr X”.

Obviously, there was an urgent need on the part of SIT to examine the whistleblower and record his statements. This was not done so far and this was casting doubts upon the theory of SIT regarding use of forged documents by Digvijaya Singh. Now SIT has realised that examination of whistleblower is a must to the successful completion of the investigation.

As per a media report, Madhya Pradesh Special Task Force (STF) has on Saturday issued summons to the whistleblower for recording his statement. Previously SIT had submitted before the Madhya Pradesh High Court the contents of Mr X’s pen drive and contended that they appear to be forged and this has been done with the intent to mislead investigating agency.

STF officer D K Tiwari went to Mr X’s official residence and served him a notice asking to appear at agency’s office for statements in three days. He has been informed through the notice that AICC general secretary Digvijaya Singh has named him as his source behind documents that he submitted in the court and the same has to be testified. At Perry4Law Organisation (P4LO) we believe that this is the proper method to do investigation involving digital evidences and cyber forensics methodologies.

It is very important to maintain a “chain of custody” and “proper documentation” of the acquisition of such digital evidence and investigation authorities must ensure that the evidence acquired by them is “admissible” in a court of law. Till now, handling of digital evidence is a big challenge for the law enforcement agencies of India. We have already witnessed that cyber forensics issues have troubled our law enforcement agencies in Aarushi Talwar’s murder case, IPL Match Fixing case, Bitcoins websites investigation, Nokia’s tax violation case, Rajnath Singh Son’s case, Amrita Rai’s G-Mail account hacking case, etc. Indian government must seriously consider empowering law enforcement agencies of India with suitable trainings and technologies.

STF had already given an undertaking in writing to the Delhi High Court that investigation agencies do not have to question whistleblower and only needed original documents allegedly in his possession. Surprisingly, neither SIT nor STF questioned the whistleblower despite the fact that he was always available. Now STF has rectified that error and has asked the whistleblower to appear before the agency.

However, the crucial question is who is right regarding the contents of the excel sheet that seems to be the core document for investigation and punishing the culprits. Right now we have two conflicting opinions in this regard and we at Perry4Law Organisation believe that this issue must be resolved by the investigation agency on a priority basis. If needed the investigation agency or Indian government can also ask for a second opinion from another cyber forensics laboratory in this regard. The bottom line is who has undergone for the “forensically sound image” of the hard disk in question by using the bit by bit image method.