Computer Crime Research Center


ebay's India chief arrested in porno case

Date: December 20, 2004
Source: The Washington Times
By: Harbaksh Singh Nanda

New Delhi, India, Dec. 17 (UPI) -- Indian police Friday arrested a top boss of an Indian subsidiary of the Internet auction house eBay for allegedly Web hosting the sale of a porn clip that was said to show two teenage classmates engaged in oral sex at a prominent high school in the Indian capital.

India-born American citizen Avinash Bajaj, chief executive officer of the leading auction Web site, was arrested two days after he was summoned to participate in the investigations related to the sale of eight DVDs of the porn clip that allegedly showed a girl from the prestigious Delhi Public School performing oral sex on her classmate.

Police have already arrested Ravi Raj Singh, an engineering student, who had sold the eight DVDs by listing the clip under the books and magazines section of and each DVD was sold for $3.

At least eight people bought the clip from the Web site since last week.

"Our investigations revealed that did not exercise due diligence, which is why the sale was continuing," Prabahkar, a senior police officer said. "Action will be taken against all those found to have liability in the case," said Prabhakar who uses one name.

The officials said that the girl, who allegedly participated in the sexual act, could also be questioned if necessary. Her influential parents have packed her off abroad to relatives.

Just over a month-and-a-half ago, two 11th-grade students from Delhi Public School filmed themselves on the boy's mobile phone during an oral sex act "just for kicks."

When the boy and the girl broke up a few days later, the boy allegedly started sending the clip to other classmates in the school. The film clip soon traveled across the country and also overseas and was hosted on several Web sites before police swung into action.

Video CDs and DVDs of the 2.37-minute clip sold like hot cakes across the country.

Ravi Raj Singh chose the site to make a quick buck from people curious to see the alleged amateur sexual act., based in India's financial hub Bombay, claims it has 1 million registered users.

In August, eBay bought Baazee for $50 million.

"I never imagined, I would land in such a mess," a regretful Ravi Raj Singh said in New Delhi, adding that he auctioned the clip to generate funds for his studies.

Singh and Bajaj have been arrested under India's Information Technology Act that stipulates stringent punishment for online peddling of pornographic material.

The Internet auction house said in a statement that it was "shocked and outraged" to hear of Bajaj's arrest and noted it had been cooperating fully with the police.

"We have been working closely with and fully cooperating with Delhi Police since they contacted us on Thursday. In fact, Avinash Bajaj went to Delhi from our Bombay office to ensure that we could aid the police in every way," Baazee said in a statement reported by the Indo Asian News service.

India's police force is gradually becoming cyber savvy as more and more Internet-related crimes are being reported. The Delhi police have set up a cyber-crime tracking unit that specializes only in cyber-crime cases.

But for some arrests, no major convictions have come through due to the loopholes in the information technology law, which is under review for amendments.

Women are increasingly becoming soft targets of cyber crime in India.

The Times of India reported that in October, a Delhi-based beautician told the police that her photograph was flashed on a porno portal along with her mobile number.

"Her face had been morphed on a naked woman's body. Somebody had done it to trouble her. As a result she received obscene messages and calls from several persons wanting to meet her, including some from outside Delhi," said a police officer.

The case is among several cyber crime cases that have remained unresolved.

The daily reported that even among the modest number of cyber crimes reported, an analysis reveals that almost 40 percent target innocent victims, whose faces are morphed on pornographic Web sites or posted on message boards to tarnish their image.

"The (Information Technology) Act does not give us enough teeth to initiate action against portals that function from abroad. Like in the present Delhi Public School case, the portal's headquarters are in Bombay and, therefore, the case was cracked in less than a week's time. In cases where the Web sites originate on a foreign server, it becomes difficult to persuade them to discharge with information," the Times quoted a police officer as saying.

But despite the arrest of the CEO of the Internet auction house, the clip of teenaged students of Delhi Public High School is being peddled in Indian cities at a premium.

Meanwhile, many schools have also started interactive counseling sessions with students and have even banned the use of cell phones. India's mobile phone market has been growing at a staggering 200 percent annually for the last decade. In India, the mobile phone users outnumber the fixed-line phone users.

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