INDIA: Where is the CD man in BPO scam?

Undercover reporter for The Sun involved in sting operation of Indian call center remains missing, as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh calls for stricter cyber laws

The Times of India
Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Gurgaon -- The most crucial link in the scandal involving the alleged sale of confidential information by an Indian to an undercover reporter in Sun — Sameer is missing.

With neither Oliver Harvey or Fayaz Rizvi, nor the DSP Kulvinder Singh willing to disclose information on Sameer, there seems to be no headway in the case.

In a handwritten statement released by Karan Bahree, he stated that a trap was laid for him by Rizvi and Sameer. Sameer had been Bahree’s acquaintance for the past six months and had introduced him to Rizvi.

Rizvi, in turn introduced Bahree to an undercover UK reporter, Harvey. Rizvi said: "I am not in a position to comment on Sameer." Singh also refused to have contacted Sameer.

Harvey said: "As I was in touch with Rizvi, I cannot speak on Sameer’s whereabouts." He added: "Bahree’s statement is a load of lies. I can prove it by showing videotapes in which he has offered to sell data relating to banks and medical details."

Rizvi claimed he was a freelance journalist who wanted to "conduct a sting operation ever since the news of BPO executives extracting PIN of customers along with credit card numbers in Pune hit the market this year."

Sameer’s mobile phone is not reachable. But, his father claims that Sameer has contacted Singh and recorded his statement. Meanwhile, Gurgaon Police has seized the computer Bahree used to work on, at Infinity Esearch. His resume, appointment letter and termination letter have also been seized.

PM wants to make it tough

New Delhi -- Prime Minister Manmohan Singh assured world community on security in India's booming IT industry, currently hit by the alleged sale of classified data by a call centre employee.

Manmohan Singh called for stricter cyber laws and voiced concern that misguided acts of individuals could damage India's growing reputation as a powerhouse for business process outsourcing (BPO) operations.

Chairing a special meeting to review a report by British tabloid Sun on call centre employee Karan Bahree who was allegedly caught selling classified information, the Prime Minister stressed the need for Indian cyber professionals to maintain high standards.

"Indian professionals have built for themselves an enviable global reputation through hard work, dedication and commitment, and the occasional misguided acts of some individuals should not be allowed to damage the high reputation of all professionals," he said.

According to an official spokesman, the prime minister asked the IT department and the National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM) to consult stakeholders and give suggestions for changes in existing laws, if necessary.

This was to ensure that any breach of secrecy, any illegal transfer of commercial or other privileged information and any other form of cyber crime is made a punishable offence".

Manmohan Singh underlined the need to maintain high standards of quality, confidentiality and reliability in the data processing business.