Covid Bed Scam in Bangalore is a sophisticated Cyber Crime and Terrorism

Yesterday, Mr Tejasvi Surya, the honourable MP of South Bangalore and his colleagues and a few MLAs joined together and exposed a major Terrorist plot in Bangalore involving sophisticated Cyber Crime techniques.

Refer some details here:

flipboard.com

News18.com

The media and opposition leaders who were complaining about the Government mis-management of oxygen supply were stunned when they learnt that the BBMP War Room was the center of this terror operation which involved creating panic amongst the population, large scale deaths and unrest in the community.

The Police Commissioner announced that two persons were arrested and a case was booked.

During the press conference, Mr Surya said that his team was stonewalled by BBMP refusing to share vital crime related information indicating that there was a complicity of BBMP officials in this scam. The Commissioner of Police has not so far indicated arrest of any BBMP officials. The least which was expected was the immediate arrest of the IAS officer Ms Tulsi who was in charge of the BBMP War room. Police owe an explanation as to why there was no prima facie case against this War Room in charge and the several computer operators in the War Room and several Arogya Mitra agents in some hospitals who were all prima facie involved in the fraud.

Police seem to be handling this with kid gloves and it is apparent that political influence may be at play despite the involvement of an MP and several MPs.

Mr Yeddyurappa as CM requires to show more courage to handle the situation.

During the reporting yesterday, it was indicated that 16 muslim youth were appointed in the War Room and were part of the conspiracy. None of them seem to have been arrested. This showed a possible organized attempt to take over the operation of the War Room by a group of radicals and investigation has to proceed in this direction.

Section 66F of ITA 2000 says

“Whoever, With intent to…. strike terror in the people and section of the people by denying or cause the denial of access to any person authorized to access computer resource; or attempting to penetrate or access a computer resource without authorisation or exceeding authorized access; or introducing or causing to introduce any Computer Contaminant and by means of such conduct causes or is likely to cause death…”

This section fits in perfectly to the current crime since the software intended for booking of the bed was manipulated and just as it happens in the Phishing scams batch processing of allotments were made in the dead of the night.

Police should include Section 66F in the charge sheet immediately and include the Cyber Crime wing to secure the electronic evidence without which the benevolent Courts will gladly discharge all the terrorists for lack of admissible evidence.

All Hospital managements through which the 4000 plus cases as pointed out by Mr Surya were handled,  were also aware of the fraud and must be considered as suspected beneficiaries.

I call upon the IT system managers and CISOs of these hospitals which include Manipal Hospital and Apollo Hospital to explain why they were not monitoring the log records related to booking and could not identify the suspicious pattern of allotments. There was a failure of the IT Security and conspiratorial silence of the professionals which requires explanation. If the CISO community had been vigilant in these hospitals, the fraud could have been identified before many deaths happened in the last week. These hospital CISOs should now conduct an audit and document to identify more such cases of fraudulent allotments of beds, fraudulent vaccinations etc. This is part of the IS management requirements.

Bangalore Police like in other places have the reputation of making noise when the case is hot and later allow things to be compromised. I hope this will not happen in this case as it has already taken the life of many.

Naavi

P.S: Added on 6th May 2021:

As expected, the above article did raise stiff opposition from professionals who believe that politics has got mixed up in the above narration. Objection was to the use of the word “Terrorism” and to the pointing out of the community mentioned by the MP during his interaction.

I owe an explanation in this regard.

As regards the facts, the incident is an unauthorized modification of information residing inside the computer and is therefore undoubtedly an offence under Section 66 of ITA 2000. Whether it comes under Section 66F and is fit to be called “Cyber Terrorism” is a subject of interpretation. It depends on the motive and the effect. The fact that “Covid affected community” did feel terrorized more from lack of medical facilities rather than the decease and more deaths are attributed to the lack of timely medical attention rather than the inherent damage caused by the decease itself in this second wave, indicates that the conditions of Section 66F were fulfilled.  The effect is causing death is also undisputable though it is a consequence of the act. Hence theoretically the incident can be called Cyber Terrorism under Section 66F. It is for the further investigation and trial to establish.

As regards the reference to the community, the MP and the MLAs did ask a question to the BBMP officials about the role of the 16/17 persons all of whom were from a community. In the video the answer given by the BBMP official Ms Tulsi was unconvincing. Following the entry of CCB, some of these have been arrested. Though there is lack of clarity whether 17 people were arrested yesterday as was reported by some TV channels or only 4 were arrested and some were picked up and detained for questioning (Not technically arrested) is a matter of detail. It is true that not all the arrested people were belonging to the minority community . But many more including many  BBMP officials may be charged if a proper investigation occurs. As we are aware that very soon other political and religious influences will start playing and the investigation could lose steam. We are in a country where politicians shed more tears for Batla encounter deaths or for Ishrat Jahan encounter than for people who died because of the activities of such terrorists. Even the Police may be hesitant to reveal the names of the arrested because they want to protect their community identity.

When Mr Tejasvi Surya and Mr Ravi Subramanyam pointed out the involvement of 17 muslims, either directly as employees of BBMP or otherwise, it was natural for the public to get disturbed. Police and Politicians are normally wary of calling a spade a spade and Mr Tejasvi Surya is an exception to this rule which is not liked by all. My support to Mr Surya as a Whistleblower in this incident has therefore evoked opposition in some professional circles. I accept it as a natural reaction.

However, for those professionals who think “Professionalism” comes only with remaining silent when some society issues are involved, I would like to disagree. Just as an individual can be a harsh CEO at office and a soft father at home, a professional has to wear multiple hats and it is possible to be able to fulfill his professional duties without giving up his conscience. Many of my professional friends have taken to public service during this Covid emergency even at the cost of their professional opportunities.

For those in the minority community who are hurt with my reference, I would like to state that the perception needs to be corrected from within the community. If 10% of the community are bad, it is the duty of the other 90% to correct the community and also change the perception of the other community. Problem is that views of the 10% remain visible and saner voices are drowned. Professionals in the minority community remain silent supporters of such injustice and many are willing to flaunt their religious preferences  while the majority community normally keeps the two  separate.

I even saw anger expressed against Mr Tejasvi Surya and calling for his arrest. So far, the professionals who are angry with me or Mr Surya have not condemned the persons named. I call upon the professionals who object to my supporting Mr Surya’s statement to unequivocally condemn any person irrespective of the community who is involved in this crime. I am prepared to do so and have called for punitive action against the BBMP official in charge of the war room.  Corruption and greed is omni present and it is the duty of professionals to fight against it. If corruption is less  in some members of BJP, they deserve support because there is hope for India. Mr Modi is one such person and we are seeing the twilight of a raising Sun on the horizon in Karnataka which has to be supported and nurtured.  I have been expressing my anger from time to time against BJP members also, particularly in the issue of Crypto Currency ban. The criticisms are issue based and not otherwise.

If my references above trigger an introspection in the community of professionals to be fair and honest and not resort to brushing issues under the carpet because it is not fashionable, the purpose of raising the issue is served.

I have many friends in the minority community and I urge them to take leadership to change the community mindset to support or oppose anything in the name of the community.

Naavi

 

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About Vijayashankar Na

Naavi is a veteran Cyber Law specialist in India and is presently working from Bangalore as an Information Assurance Consultant. Pioneered concepts such as ITA 2008 compliance, Naavi is also the founder of Cyber Law College, a virtual Cyber Law Education institution. He now has been focusing on the projects such as Secure Digital India and Cyber Insurance
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1 Response to Covid Bed Scam in Bangalore is a sophisticated Cyber Crime and Terrorism

  1. V Rajendran says:

    A very bold and clear exposure. Hope the government takes some swift action.

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