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Thursday, 1 June, 2000, 13:18 GMT 14:18 UK
Indian police nab net thief
Indian street
Internet use in India is on the increase
Indian police have made what is said to be the first ever arrest in a case of cybercrime.

Police in the Indian capital, Delhi, have charged a computer engineer with stealing over 100 hours of internet time, according to Indian media reports.

The 24-year-old man, who was not identified, had used the account of a retired army officer, Colonel J S Bawa, to log on.

The Times of India quoted a police official as saying that the accused was a service engineer with a computer firm and had been called in to activate Colonel Bawa's account.


Internet time was consumed from 10 different locations

Dinesh Bhatt, Delhi Police
"The accused connected the modem and changed the password for the army officer's computer system," Dinesh Bhatt, chief of the Delhi Police's economic offences wing, said.

"It was later found that the army officer's internet time was used from 10 different locations between November 4 and December 22, 1999," Mr Bhatt said.

The accused is also alleged to have sold the password to several people.

New law

Delhi police hope to use the provisions of a new law which under which anyone illegally accessing computer data can be found guilty of committing a cybercrime.

Last month, India's parliament approved an IT bill which seeks to regulate the country's booming IT industry.

Under the bill, hackers can be hit with fines ranging from 200,000 rupees ($4,500) to 10m rupees ($224,000) and can face prison terms of up to three years.

Heavy fines and jail sentences can also be handed out to anyone publishing obscene material on the internet.

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See also:

16 May 00 | South Asia
India approves IT bill
15 Apr 00 | South Asia
India at risk of tech worker shortage
17 Mar 00 | South Asia
Cyber city gears up
13 Mar 00 | South Asia
Murdoch eyes 'cyber' Bangalore
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