Hrithik- Kangana Email Fiasco- Focus on cyber law aspects rather than affair

As a cyber lawyer I have been following up the case of Hrithik and Kangana closely and there are so many loop holes which I doubt the investigating officers can fill up.

I am not taking sides of either party but clearly either both are victims of an email spoofing scam or only one of them is.  Email spoofing is a very common offence we encounter on cyber crime practice and mostly the offenders target companies or high net worth individuals for financial gains. There are tools by which a party can send emails from another person’s email id without ever hacking it, and the only way to decipher is crime is through ip address and header analysis of the email. Even if the ip address is masked the header clearly can show if an email spoofing tool is used. To give an example if Mr. A’s email id is, a proficient cyber criminal can easily using email spoofing tools send an email from without accessing or hacking the email account of Mr. A, and this is easily traceable. The cyber cell is investigating the case but this seems to be the basic thing the advocates in the matter and investigating officers have to check for.

It could be very possible that both parties are actually victims of a third party who has messed with them through email spoofing. Also, the possibility cannot be denied that either party themselves have spoofed the other’s email id. However, in either case it is pretty easy and conclusive to determine this at a basic level cyber crime investigation.

It is surely strange that the nation is so obsessed with the purported affair between Hrithik and Kangana, but the actual investigation in my opinion seems deficient on a lot of levels.

In such cases all the computer devices of both parties which includes their cell phones, tablets, lap tops and any device which can connect to the internet is taken into custody by the police and they are mirrored and the mirrored version is sent for forensic investigation and that is usually a tell all. This case has been going on since 2016 and I surely doubt all their devices have been taken into custody for investigation.

Along with this the log files have to be obtained from their Internet Service Providers along with Telecom service providers to know whether the parties actually sent these messages. The log files are a blue print of every activity of an individual on the internet.

Both Hrithik and Kangana have alleged that there have been messages sent between them, and the same can easily be authenticated through their Mobile Service Provider.

Kangana’s private videos are in the emails and the veracity of those including the details of camera used to shoot them can be forensically examined.

Based on the digital evidence obtained clearly it can turn out that both parties are victims of a cyber crime by a third party, who can very well be traced by this mechanism and investigation. That third party would in such scenario be guilty of Cyber Personation, Unauthorised access and Hacking under the Information Technology Act. However, if either of the parties has spoofed these messages or emails then they are guilty for the above mentioned offences.

The current scenario in handling this legal case is more focused on whether their affair existed, rather than the focus being on proving actual facts of the cyber crime which can be deciphered if investigation is done in a timely manner as Internet Service Providers and Telecom Service Providers maintain data only for a short period of time prescribed by law. Ideally the focus should be on the actual cyber crime rather than the affair.

Email spoofing has existed for years but most people are not aware of it. Phishing scams is what the common man knows but email spoofing is even more dangerous as it purports to be from the person’s actual email id and not some variant of it as happens in phishing scams.


Nov 14, 2017

Author By Advocate Puneet Bhasin, Cyber Law Expert, Cyberjure Legal Consulting

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