KOCHI: The Telegram app stands firm on its refusal in handing over chat details even though the National Investigation Agency (NIA) probing the case against Islamic State (IS) module Ansar-ul-Khilafah Kerala sent queries to its headquarters on several occasions. Telegram is one of the popular apps used for terrorist activities as it does not share any details with security agencies across the globe.
During the trial in the case against members of Ansar-ul-Khilafah Kerala, NIA Court Judge P Krishna Kumar asked the agency whether any attempts were made to receive details about the Telegram channels formed by the module and identify all the members in these channels.
“We had made several such attempts and sent queries to Telegram on several occasions. But Telegram did not respond to any of our queries. They do not share any details about users and channels,” NIA prosecutor Arjun Ambalapatta said.
Earlier, there were reports that the Ministry of Electronics and Information and Technology took up with the Department of Telecom a proposal to block Telegram in India. The app is banned in Russia after it refused to cooperate with the Federal Security Service (FSB) probing a terror attack in 2018. Later, the Iranian government also banned the app suspecting it to be used for armed uprisings in the country.
Telegram app, which was launched in 2013 by two Russian citizens, is based in Berlin, Germany.
“Interestingly, apart from Facebook, most of the foreign app companies do not have their offices in India. So, when we approach these companies for any information, it takes months to get a response. These app companies do not have any representatives in India who can be contacted as part of the investigation in cases related to national security,” an officer with the Intelligence Bureau (IB) said.As part of the investigation against Ansar-ul-Khilafah Kerala module, intelligence agencies could penetrate Telegram channels posing as insiders.
The NIA could receive details of chats after seizing the mobile phones of the accused persons. However, several members who used pseudonyms could not be identified.It was in 2016, the NIA busted the IS Kerala module after arresting its seven members who allegedly conducted a clandestine meeting at Kanakamala in Kannur.
Telegram is one of the popular apps used for terrorist activities as it does not share any details with security agencies across the globe