Kolkata: He is regarded a computer wizard back home in Ranchi, where he owns a computer training institute, holds workshops on ethical hacking and runs a computer business. When officers of the Cyber Cell of Kolkata Police landed up at his doorstep on Wednesday morning, 40-year-old Sanwill Srivastava couldn’t believe his e-footprints had been tracked and he was busted.
Police say it was Srivastava who sent the February 29 email threat to blow up the Thai consulate in Gariahat. Bomb squad officers rushed to the scene but the hoax triggered panic in two nearby schools, including the junior section of South Point. After a thorough search, police gave the all-clear and turned their attention to tracking down the culprit.
The Cyber Cell took up the case and made clever use of technology along with good old detective work. In the end, the absolute no-nonsense approach of global tech giants towards terrorism helped seal the case.
“The accused had sent the mail in an encrypted format. When we used our forensic tools, we realized that the user had even masked the IP address. In other words, proxy servers were used to both create the email and send it. Our probe found that the mail was initially created through US service provider gec.net. Retracing the cyber footsteps, we found that in May last year, the user had asked for better services through his email ID and paid through PayPal. We contacted the US-based internet payment firm and got details of the debit card used for the payment,” said an investigator.
Then, cops got a second break. They found that someone had made a Skype call to the Thai consulate at 10am on February 29, posing as an IB officer, to “warn” them about bombs. “When we analysed the call data,, we found it was a four-digit code. We contacted Skype through a lengthy process but once they understood the importance of the case, they promptly replied. Within hours, we got the actual email ID and password used for the call and it matched with the details provided to us by PayPal,” said an investigator.
Srivastava believed he had hidden his tracks well and was stunned when cops came calling, say sources. Police are questioning him. “Once we bring him to Kolkata on transit remand, we will be able to tell exactly why he made this call,” said joint CP (crime) Debashish Boral.