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BB heist: Rakesh Asthana remains a mystery

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FT ONLINE

The Bangladesh Bank assigned World Informatix Cyber Security managing director Rakesh Asthana immediately after the cyber theft of $101 million from its reserve in February, 2016 keeping local information technology and law enforcement agencies in dark. The appointment of Rakesh and his some activities is still in mystery to the investigators.

Criminal Investigation Department officials said that they were informed about the incident a day before the case was filed on March 15, 2016.

But, Rakesh Astana conducted swift-related forensic examinations of 31 computers before they become aware about the incident.   Moreover, without any written order, those computers were handed over to officials of Bangladesh Bank.

But it is mandatory to take written departmental order to shift or examine any computer of Bangladesh Bank.

When the CID officials examined those computers and found that the log of all computers has been removed.

After initial investigation, a speculation has grown that there were an attempt to foil the evidence/proof of reserve heist.

A number of officials of the central bank said without having any written permission, at least 30 computers were given under care of World Informatics Cyber Security managing director Rakesh Asthana. The officials, however, were not interested to hand over the computers. Later, they handed over the computers as per the permission of governor over telephone.

But the officials attached to secretariat of governor did not know about the seizure of computers and the identity of the person who is engaged in examining computers.

An Information and Communication Technology Division official said that none of the Bangladesh Cyber Incident Response Team was asked for help until the news was spread in March, nearly a month after the theft.

ICT division officials said that they had instituted a computer emergency response team on January 11, 2016 but they were not even informed about the incident.

The official said that had any IT team failed to recover the evidences, the police could have sought help from Interpol or the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the United States, which later provided technological assistance in connection with the case.

CID spokesperson and organised crime special superintendent Mollah Nazrul Islam said, ‘Not only Rakesh Ashtana, investigation into the reserve theft continue focusing all related people in suspicion.’

When asked about the issue, Subhankar Shaha, executive director and chief spokesperson of Bangladesh Bank refused to say anything as it is now under investigation.

-SAM

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