Mumbai: In a notable turn of events, two students have been arrested in connection with the recent series of extortion threats directed at Mukesh Ambani, the Chairman of Reliance Industries Ltd, through emails. This case underscores the potential consequences of cybercrimes, even as the digital age provides individuals with sophisticated tools for anonymity. The Mumbai police, specifically the crime intelligence unit of the Crime Branch, were instrumental in apprehending the suspects behind these threatening emails.
The Culprits: Rajveer Khant and Ganesh Ramesh Vanaparthi
- Rajveer Khant: At just 21 years old, Khant, a third-year B.Com student hailing from Kalol, Gujarat, displayed an audacious demeanor when he sent a series of menacing emails to Ambani. Khant is a self-proclaimed “cyber geek” who boasted the ability to elude capture, baiting Ambani with the phrase “Catch Me If You Can” in his messages. This phrase would soon become a part of his undoing, as we’ll discover later in this account.
- Ganesh Ramesh Vanaparthi: The second student implicated in this case is 19-year-old Ganesh Ramesh Vanaparthi, a resident of Warangal in Telangana. Vanaparthi, a computer science student, allegedly joined Khant in sending threatening emails to Ambani.
The Extortion Scheme
Khant’s modus operandi was cunning and calculated. He recognized the need for discretion and privacy in his communications, opting to access the dark web via Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) and seek information from YouTube. This approach allowed him to acquire the tools necessary to send end-to-end encrypted emails, making it extremely difficult for investigators to trace his activities.
Between October 27 and November 1, Khant sent a series of emails to Ambani, demanding varying sums of money. The sequence began with a demand for ₹20 crore and quickly escalated: on October 28, he demanded ₹200 crore, and by October 30, the amount had risen to a staggering ₹400 crore. The ominous nature of the emails sent shockwaves through the recipient.
One of these emails held the phrase “Catch Me If You Can,” underscoring Khant’s confidence that he was beyond the reach of law enforcement. He believed that the company would not divulge user information and took measures to mask his IP address, thereby further impeding any efforts to locate him. The use of multiple VPNs only complicated the situation for investigators.
The Investigation and Arrest of Rajveer Khant
Despite his crafty approach to maintaining anonymity, Khant’s audacity played a pivotal role in his eventual arrest. The catchphrase “Catch Me If You Can” served as a blatant challenge to the authorities, and it didn’t go unnoticed. The Crime Branch Unit, led by Milind Kate, embarked on a concerted effort to identify the individual behind the extortion emails.
Authorities contacted various agencies and thoroughly studied multiple VPNs, ultimately leading them to Kalol, where they traced the location of the cybercriminal. The police subsequently arrested Khant, confiscated his desktop computer, and seized two of his mobile phones.
This arrest represents a crucial development in the case and serves as a reminder that even the most tech-savvy individuals can be tracked and held accountable for their actions in the digital age. Cybercrimes may offer a degree of anonymity, but this case demonstrates that anonymity is not foolproof.
The Involvement of Ganesh Ramesh Vanaparthi
While Vanaparthi, a resident of Warangal, was not as brash as Khant, his actions were still concerning. He joined Khant in sending extortion emails to Mukesh Ambani. Initially, the emails from Vanaparthi and Khant used the domain fencemail.com.
Following Ambani’s receipt of several such emails, one of which was sent by Vanaparthi, the police tracked the technical details of the communication to apprehend the student. Even though Vanaparthi had deleted the email, the investigation successfully located him. He was subsequently arrested by the Gamdevi police.
Vanaparthi admitted that his actions were primarily for amusement, asserting that he had no harmful intentions when sending the extortion emails. The case is currently under investigation, and the involvement of multiple law enforcement agencies has highlighted the importance of addressing cybercrimes with vigilance.
Implications and Lessons Learned
The case of these two students and their involvement in extortion emails sent to Mukesh Ambani serves as a cautionary tale about the repercussions of engaging in cybercrimes. Despite their initial confidence in their anonymity, the authorities were able to identify and apprehend both individuals.
Khant’s audacious use of the phrase “Catch Me If You Can” not only underscored his defiance but also ultimately contributed to his arrest. The digital age may offer powerful tools for anonymity, but it is not an impenetrable shield against law enforcement efforts.
Vanaparthi’s involvement further highlights the importance of swiftly addressing such cybercrimes, given that even seemingly innocent actions can have significant implications in the online world.
The Mumbai police, as well as the Crime Branch, have demonstrated their determination and investigative prowess in ensuring that these individuals face the consequences of their actions. This case reinforces the message that cybercrimes can be tracked and that law enforcement agencies are committed to maintaining the rule of law in the digital age.