Threat to BJP MLAs: It‘s handiwork of professional hackers, say cops

Threatening messages being sent to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislators and other leaders may be the mischief of a professional hacker or a group of cyber criminals, police said on Thursday.

“The sender has used a virtual private network (VPN) to send messages to legislators. This is allowing him to hide original internet protocol (IP) address and use proxy IP address. The sender is continuously changing IP address from one country to another,” said a senior police officer privy to the investigation.

He said earlier the IP address was from Islamabad in Pakistan but later changed to USA and Germany. “Only a professional hacker can change proxy IP address using VPN,” he added.

Deputy inspector general (DIG) of police, law and order, Praveen Kumar said initial probe hinted that it was a mischief by a professional hacker and there was no need to panic.

He said a three-member special investigation team (SIT), under the supervision of inspector general of special task force (STF), Amitabh Yash was already on the job and found some crucial leads.

He said tracking the sender was a technical issue and would take some time.

Kumar said director general of police OP Singh had already issued an advisory to all district police chiefs and local intelligence units had been asked to review security of the MLAs receiving threats.

He said so far 22 MLAs had lodged FIRs in various districts across the state.

In last three days, MLAs and other politicians of the BJP have complained of receiving extortion messages on their WhatsApp numbers purportedly sent by Ali Baba Budesh, a notorious extortionist based in a Gulf country.

The number of politicians receiving extortion messages has gone up to 25, including 22 BJP MLAs, two former MLAs and a party officer-bearer.

Additional director general (ADG), law and order, Anand Kumar had told media persons on Wednesday that Budesh was a notorious extortionist and underworld don based in Bahrain.

“Budesh fled to Bahrain in the late ’80s where he set up his new base. But there are no reports of his involvement in any criminal activities in India,” he added.