Special Cell officers still remember how Anurag Singh, a Maulana Azad Medical College graduate who was more interested in cyberspace than medicine, would sift through the mass of numbers and IP addresses to give them leads in terror probes. He would decode numbers, zero in on locations of suspects and also train agencies to shield their systems from hackers.
“At that time, we were not so sound technically. Anurag’s help was sought in major cases involving mobile phones, satellite phones, computers. In the Parliament attack case, we recovered a SIM card. With the help of the IMEI number, he got us the entire phonebook, contacts, call details. For us, it was a new thing then. He helped trace Afzal Guru,” an officer said.
Police turned to Anurag for leads in the attack on Red Fort attack. On the night of December 23, 2000, militants scaled the walls of Red Fort and attacked an army camp, killing two army personnel and a guard. Though a quick reaction team was scrambled, the militants escaped into the night.
From the spot, police found a paper slip with a mobile number. It finally led to the arrest of Mohammed Arif alias Ashfaq, a Pakistan national who police said was a Lashkar-e-Toiba militant. He was later sentenced to death.
An officer said police also turned to Anurag for help in two other terror cases of 2003. “He would break into email accounts, intercept phones, use surveillance equipment. He had an answer ready for every cyber query,” the officer said, adding that “his intelligence got channelised in the wrong direction”.
Anurag helped police between 2000 and 2003. In 2005, he floated a detective agency. A year later, he was arrested for his alleged role in the Amar Singh phone tapping case. He spent time in custody and the case is still in court. After his release on bail, Anurag invested in the stock market, and entered the business of surveillance equipment. He imported high-end gadgets from Singapore, Israel and China, police said.
Anurag is among the four men arrested who, police claim, illegally obtained call detail records of BJP leader Arun Jaitley. According to police, one of them broke into email accounts of officers and sent requests for CDRs. Anurag is currently in police custody where he is being questioned.