PIA officer held on cyber crime charges
KARACHI: The Cyber Crime Circle of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has arrested a deputy general manager of the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) allegedly for having accessed the airline’s information system without authorization and having committed other illegal activities.
FIA Deputy Director Mohammed Ahmed Zaeem said they had received a complaint from a director of PIA, Rashid Ahmed, against tampering of their information system apparently by someone from within the organization.
The complainant said that PIA being the national flag carrier had massive information technology systems, and it provided a number of online services to its customers.
Managing such a large IT and related systems entailed regular monitoring, and it was during one such internal audit that it transpired that some user of the PIA information system had indulged in foul play.
The FIA official said that the accused had allegedly browsed other people’s official PIA email accounts and illegally accessed official data. He then illegally transmitted that information outside PIA through, ironically, his own official email account. To avoid being caught, he deleted the email after having sent it to someone outside PIA.
The complainant further told the FIA that official email IDs had been allotted to Riaz Zeeshan, Manager of System Admin, Syed Mustafa Ali, Assistant Manager of IT, and Abdul Wahid, assistant manager of IT, and to some other networking technicians.
During an internal inquiry, the complainant inquired from these people if any of them had sent the email, and they replied in the negative.
Later, PTCL was contacted to obtain details about the subscriber who had sent the mala fide email. It turned out that someone by the name of Ijaz Akhtar, a resident of Garden East, had sent the email.
Subsequently, a raiding party of the cyber crime circle of the FIA approached the address in Garden East where they found one Aijaz Ahmed.
Upon questioning, the accused, Aijaz Ahmed, who identified himself as a deputy general manager in PIA’s IT department, confessed to having accessed official email IDs without authorization, generated and then sent the email in question to the chairman of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).
Aijaz Ahmed told the FIA that the purpose behind his illegal act was “to highlight the injustice and irregularity in the appointment of PIA chief information officer who did not meet the merit criterion besides being a holder of British nationality”.
Upon further questioning, the accused led the FIA team to the electronic equipment in his use.
FIA Deputy Director Mohammed Ahmed Zaeem said that the incriminating equipment and articles had been seized under proper memo which was prepared on the spot in the presence of witnesses.
He added that consequently the raid report of the subject inquiry was issued and forwarded to the Project Director, FIA Headquarters in Islamabad, with recommendation that the opinion of a law officer may be obtained.
Hence the competent authority FIA Islamabad accorded permission for registration of an FIR.
The official said that in view of the facts, circumstances and evidences, the accused, Aijaz Ahmed, seemed to have committed the offences punishable U/S 36-37 E T O 2002 r/w 419 of the Pakistan Penal Code for which he was arrested. Further investigations were underway.