The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), which is probing an alleged Bollywood-drugs nexus, summoned actress Deepika Padukone among others for questioning.
Padukone has been summoned on Friday, a senior NCB official said.
Padukone's manager Karishma Prakash was summoned earlier to join the investigation, but she sought time due to ill health, he said, adding she was exempted from appearance till Friday.
Prakash's WhatsApp chats included conversations about drugs with one 'D', NCB sources said, adding that the agency wanted to find out who this person was.
The chats are dated to October 2017, and reportedly show Padukone asking for “maal” from K, after which the latter says she can ask “Amit” because he is “carrying.”
D then clarified that she wants “hash” and not “weed.”
According to reports, the chats accessed by NCB belong to Jaya Saha of KWAN Sushant Singh Rajput’s talent manager, and colleague of Prakash.
She was also a part of the chat group, of which screenshots have been shared by the media.
How did the NCB retrieve WhatsApp chats?
In 2019, WhatsApp offered end-to-end encryption by default which means only the sender and the recipient can see the messages in circulation -- not even WhatsApp. However, it does come with a backup option where you can store the messages to Google Drive or any other cloud storage services.
While this feature increases user privacy, it has also attracted criticism from policy makers and law enforcement agencies as it makes it hard for them to trace the origin of a message.
India has stressed on the traceability of messages as rumours spread on the platform has been linked to dozens of deaths in the past.
In Deepika’s case, investigative agencies reportedly cloned a device creating a mirrored image of your phone and then transfer all the data to another device.
This is done with the help of cyber forensic experts who can retrieve anything from chats, images, videos, call records, including all the data stored in clouds and external drives.
Here, Jaya seemed to have used the backup feature, which provided that chats easily to the NCB.
Can these chats be used in court as evidence?
Under the Indian Evidences Act, 1872, a person can be tried if evidence is found in the contents of electronic records.
WhatsApp 2020 Update
WhatsApp is working on a new feature that will soon allow its over two billion users to sync their chat history on at least four different devices.
Currently, WhatsApp works on a single device and it is not possible to use the account on multiple devices, the most requested demand from the users.
According to WABetainfo, a website that tracks WhatsApp in Beta, the messaging app is working on the possibility to use the same account on different devices.
"They are testing the feature in order to work with 4 devices at the same time," the report said.
WhatsApp is already working on to create an interface for Android as well as iOS.
"When the user wants to use WhatsApp on a second device, there is the need to copy the chat history. In this case, WhatsApp always requires a Wi-Fi connection, because it may use a large amount of your data plan," said the report.
When WhatsApp has safely copied the chat history to the second device, it will be finally possible to use your account from it.
"Note that any message will be delivered to all your family devices, so your chat history will be always synced across platforms, and when you use or remove a device, your encryption key changes," said the report.
When the encryption key changes during the process, all active chats will be notified.
With inputs from Agencies