Although it has offered to help probe into recent allegations of data theft, India's National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM) said Thursday that its hands are tied as complaints have not been filed against anyone alleged to have been involved in thefts from India's call-center companies.
There is as yet no formal complaint with police in India against Karan Bahree, the person alleged to have sold information on U.K. bank accounts to a reporter of the London tabloid, The Sun, said Sunil Mehta, vice president of NASSCOM on Thursday.
The Sun said in June that its reporter, operating undercover, was sold top secret information on 1,000 bank accounts by Bahree in Delhi, who said he obtained the data from contacts at call centers in and around Delhi. City of London Police confirmed in June that they were investigating the allegations by The Sun, but said they did not have jurisdiction in the matter.
Bahree has denied the allegations by The Sun in a letter to his employers and said that he had given a CD to the undercover reporter at the request of two other persons, including a stringer for The Sun in India, without knowing that its contents were classified.
This week India's call-center industry came again under focus after the Australian Broadcasting Corp. (ABC) said that employees of call centers in India are selling personal information of thousands of Australians.
"No complaint relating to the ABC case has been registered with the Indian police," said NASSCOM's Mehta.
NASSCOM is keen to get to the bottom of the cases of alleged data theft in order to protect the reputation of the Indian call-center industry, said Kiran Karnik, president of NASSCOM. "It is not a nice situation to be in, if personal data is actually floating around illegally, as these reports have alleged," Karnik said.
Tens of thousands of Australians are at risk of computer fraud because their personal information is being made available illegally by workers inside call centers based in India, ABC said in an item posted Monday on its Web site. Its Four Corners program later that day revealed a black market in information held by Indian call centers, ABC announced. The program was able to get hold of personal details through a journalist who is working undercover and cannot be identified, according to ABC.
NASSCOM will work with the legal authorities in Australia and India to ensure that those responsible for any criminal breaches are promptly prosecuted and face the maximum penalty, the organization said in a statement earlier this week.
NASSCOM is concerned that such reports emanate from "entrapment operations" and no person has reported any harm yet, the organization said in a statement earlier this week. In the absence of a formal complaint, the enforcement officials cannot launch formal investigations and apprehend the criminals, the statement added.