another example of the Credit Card industry's deceptive advertising targeting children
cartoon of the month

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Sarbajit Roy, The Insider

The Insider
PRAGYA SINGH (Indian Express Newsline)

Posted online: Sunday, July 03, 2005 at 0000 hours IST

IN the last few days Karan Bahree has become the face, though a reluctant one, of the outsourcing industry. It’s a face that reflects the troubled industry that makes $13 billion a year.

Last Thursday, British tabloid The Sun declared it had Bahree on camera, exchanging British banks’ private information for Rs 3.4 lakh. The Sun says he got the information from call centres in Delhi.

Since then, Bahree has vanished, but the call centres haven’t rested. The papers flash his pictures, the tabloids feast on him and every self-respecting blog underwrites India’s IT industry.

Even Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has stepped in: On Wednesday, he wanted to know how the culprits are being booked and the alleged security loopholes in call centres plugged. These call centres, flagships for India’s equally well-to-do software exports, are taking a lot of the flack.

Bahree, still only 24, emerged briefly in a letter to his employers. In it he said he took the money, gave the CD to Sun’s reporters but says he doesn’t know what was on it. In fact, it wasn’t his CD at all, he claims; it belonged to an acquaintance, with whom he split the booty.

A vortex of allegations has spawned, turning Bahree into a foolish boy, the law enforcement into spectators, The Sun into an evil avenger for ‘Benedict Arnold CEOs’. And call centres, which say Indian security is world class, into victims of racism or of vested interests. BPOs know trouble when they see it, and after dealing with the US, they sense a need to lie low.

In the ruckus, Bahree, a public-school boy brought up in Delhi, turned his cellphone off. Neighbours at his parent’s Dilshad Garden home say they haven’t spotted him for a while. Even his father won’t say where he is.

The evasion may seem ridiculously easy, considering the storm Bahree has raised. But this hide-and-seek could, in fact, be Karan’s life’s work: At Infinity e-Search, a small Gurgaon-based web design firm (not call centre) he was on probation for

Rs 10,000 a month. It fired him without notice on Tuesday, not convinced by his desperate letter. On weekends, Bahree’s closest ally was a gentleman who runs a PCO next door to his home.

In all this, where does a CD wielding 1,000 bank customer’s names, passwords and PIN numbers fit in? The closest anyone has got to an answer is: Palika Bazaar, Nehru Place and Janak Puri.

In one of these buzzing marketplaces, frothing with everything from the contraband to the unusual, someone picked up the troublesome CD and Bahree handed it to the sleuths from The Sun. This much is indicated by a public interest litigation (PIL) filed before the Delhi government on June 28.

The PIL follows up on an eight-month-old legal battle against illegal call centres that allegedly compromise the outsourcing industry. It is the only formal complaint in the Bahree case.

It could be—though that does not excuse Bahree’s role—that he thought he was pulling a fast one on his UK ‘clients,’ by peddling a relatively easy to find CD for big money. If that was the case, then The Sun missed the bigger story.

Re: The Insider

1) As the sole complainant in this matter, my "PIL" (actually its my interim application in the sole "hacking" complaint under IT ACT filed in Delhi till date) simply requests Oliver Harvey and Bahree to help the ongoing investigations into "theft" of banking data which is ongoing for 14 months now. Forensic analysis of the CD in Harvey's possession will lead India's cyber cops to a mother-lode of hacked data (estimated to be over 1.2 million accounts Indian credit card accounts of British Banks) which RBI and the Indian Govt have known about for almost 14 months now and had tried to sweep under the carpet.

2) Its therefore hilarious to see Dr. K.K.Bajaj (Deputy Controller of Certifying Authorities and Director CERT-IN and India's Top Cyber Investigator under section 28 of the IT ACT) caught on hidden spycams by NDTV blathering away that "data theft" does not fall within his investigative powers.

3) As a small newspaper(?) in Delhi says "Let there be Light" shed on this matter and especially why the Cyber Regulatory Tribunal has not been constituted till date thereby bottlenecking all cyber prosecutions in the country. Once again Dr. Bajaj - has a lot to answer for.

Posted by: sarbajit roy, India, 04-07-2005 at 0930 hours IST

Trackback: Sarbajit Roy Insider


Blogger Buno Ol said...

HDFC Harrassing old parents for nothing

Dear Mr Ray,
I seek some advice from you.
I was an urfortunate holder of a HDFC Credit card from late 2004 to early 2006.
It was supposed to be a lifetime free silver credit card.
The card had a meager credit limit of Rs 12000.00 and I had hardly ever used it.
Only twice I had used it for as small amounts as Rs 3000 and Rs 3560 only and each time I paid back within 2-3 days time not even waiting for the due date to come.
In fact I had a Citibank Credit card with a much higher credit limit and better facilities do I used to use that one more. You can check my repayment record with Citibank if you want. Satisfied by my clean repayment record they kept increasing my card’s credit limit and facilities every year.
TO the best of my knowledge I had no outstanding amount on the HDFC card and in spite of informing the bank again and again never ever received a single statement from them.
On one fine day, in early 2006 I called up HDFC Bank Credit Card Division Customer Care and informed them that I was going to destroy the card so that they can block the account. They said I don’t have any outstanding but as a fore-closure free I need to pay one hundred something rupees which would be coming in the next statement and I can pay it then. I again told them that I never received any statement from them. But they said this time onwards I would definitely get them.
Days, weeks, months have passed after I have broken the card into 4 pieces and dropped the pieces in the trash can of one of the HDFC ATM’s. Then suddenly I get a call from a person called Rajesh from HDFC Bank’s recovery section. It was about a year after I had destroyed the card. Rajesh said I had about 20,000.00 Rupees outstanding on my card and needed to pay immediately. I was stunned and I said there must have been some mistake on their part. But he kept insisting. He even threatened to drag me to the cops and the court. I felt nervous because I can’t deny that the card belonged to me because I had signed on the application form while applying for the card. Besides, I didn’t have any paper, statement, letter indicating that I’m being wrongly charged. I continued to argue with him but ultimately had to give in. He said if I pay him Rs 5000 –something on that day itself in cash, he would get me the letter of settlement within a day. I unwillingly agreed, in fear of unnecessary trouble and embarrassment.
I asked him to come to my office (TCS, Whiltefield) in Bangalore. He came with another guy from the collection agency, took the money, gave me a receipt and said he would be sending the settlement letter to me on the very next day. Ever since I had been waiting for that letter and it never came. I only have a copy of the receipt for that amount but it does in no way prove that the account had been settled. I tried calling him several times at the number he had called me from but it turned out to be an office board number so I could never talk to him.
For almost 10 months I did neither hear nor receive anything from the bank.
Now, on an official assignment I have come to Japan and I have to stay here for a couple of years if not more. Suddenly my father calls me and tells me that a certain Arjun from HDFC bank is calling and threatening them repeatedly saying ‘Your son owes us Rs 24000. Either ask him to pay or we’ll drag you to the court’. I asked my father to give them my Japan contact number and email id but they said thay didn’t want to make international calls and kept harassing my helpless old parents. At last, I told my father to tell them about Rajesh and the letter of settlement that never came to me. Now they are saying unless I present some kind of settlement letter to them, they will send goons to our place and issue a legal notice etc etc.
My agreement with my firm doesn’t allow me to go to India before I have completed at least 18 months here. I am feeling so helpless out here.
What to do? How to prove I am innocent?
Is there anyone who can help me out? Can my parents sue the bank for harassment? Is it possible to do so without having all necessary papers? I don’t have any papers with me except for that last receipt, partly because of my foolishness but mainly because of the bank’s unwillingness to send statements.
Is there any way this can be handled?

Awaiting your mail/reply.

Devalin Sarkar
Tokyo, Japan.
Phone : +81 90 35474346
Email : devalin.sarkar(AT)

11:29 AM  

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