Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Ravi Shankaran’s Extradition To India Is Now Doubtful

Today information and communication technology (ICT) is involved in almost all crimes. Today’s era belongs to cyber crimes and the corresponding cyber forensics capabilities and cyber forensics skills development to solve the same.

Law enforcement agencies, security agencies and intelligence agencies of India need to have good techno legal cyber forensics trainings. However, we have very few cyber forensics research, education and training institutions in India. As a result our law enforcement agencies, security agencies and intelligence agencies are not well equipped to deal with cyber crimes and cyber forensics cases.

Even lawyers and judges are not well versed with techno legal issues and this at times results in acquittal of the accused. While lawyers in India can affords to take techno legal issues lightly yet this casual approach may prove fatal if a well versed and technologically sound lawyer is pitted against them.

This is exactly what happened in the Naval war-room leak case’s investigation. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is now facing a setback in the extradition of Naval war-room leak case accused Ravi Shankaran.

The secret evidence provided by CBI has been declared to be shaky by the experts appointed by London court. This has demolished the case of CBI to a great extent. The case appears to be falling apart as the UK court-appointed cyber forensic expert has raised doubts over the secret evidence provided by Government of India.

The prosecutors of India had earlier presented secret evidence about an e-mail with an attachment of Sir Creek sent by Commander Virender Rana to a person called Vic Branson of Inmaty company in Belgium, which they claimed was owned by Shankaran.

These attachments they alleged had material which compromised the integrity of India. The Judge noted that the alleged e-mail by Vic Branson to Rana, produced by the prosecution as the main evidence against Shankaran, had no date and time and an independent court approved expert has confirmed that it is not possible to create an email, type 11 words, attach 8 documents and then save it all in 2 seconds only.

Cyber forensic expert Jason Coyne has, according to the judge, stated that such an e-mail could not have been sent based on the evidence produced by Government of India.

Earlier James Lewis, representing Shankaran, pointed out that Coyne's conclusion on the e-mail in question "has completely destroyed the Indian Government's case" against Shankaran. The Judge at the City of Westminster Magistrates' Court put off the hearing after a plea from the Crown Prosecution Service John Hardy, who sought time to consult Government of India. The hearing about admissibility of the extradition case against Shankaran, will be held for two days from October 10, District Judge Nicholas Evans said.

In the past as well, the CBI has failed to act in a timely manner while investigating the case of defacement of its website.

Editorial Comments

We just came across some media reports after our posting. Hence the editorial comments. If possible, we would also come up with techno legal expert’s testimony in this regard very soon.

Dismissing reports of a setback in the extradition case involving Ravi Shankaran, main accused in the Naval War Room leak case, the CBI today claimed that a UK-based cyber expert has "wrongly considered" the creation time of email, presented as evidence by it in a London court. The agency said there was "no setback" to it in the case and it will present its views before the Westminster Court on October 10.

CBI will present its argument that the expert has wrongly considered creation time of the 'Temporary' internet file, related to email in question; which is actually an automatic process in the computer system to cache open files, which can be recovered in case of any crash" a senior CBI official said.