HDFC Bank Must Follow Sound E-Discovery And Cyber Forensics Procedure To Avoid Legal Liability

PRAVEEN DALAL MANAGING PARTNER OF PERRY4LAW CEO PTLBMany of the readers of this Blog may be aware that ICICI, HDFC and Axis Banks have been accused of indulging in Money Laundering and Benami Transactions. While Finance Ministry and Reserve Bank of India (RBI) are Investigating Money Laundering Accusations against ICICI, HDFC and Axis Banks yet these Banks may also be conducting their own Private Investigations.

It has been reported by media reports that the HDFC Bank has hired services of private players for Forensics and Legal Audit of its affairs. At Perry4Law and Perry4Law’s Techno Legal Base (PTLB) we strongly believe that although this may be good intended yet it may bring “Unforeseen Legal Challenges”.

As the allegations against these Banks are serious and Criminal in nature, there is numerous Data of Evidence that must be “Kept Intact” by these Banks. If these Data, including Digital and Electronic Data, Changes, Access or Manipulated, it may “Draw an Adverse Inference” by the Investigating Authorities and Courts against these Banks. It may also amount to “Destruction of Evidence” by these Banks hence further Offence(s).

Although HDFC has declared that this Forensics and Legal Audit Process has been initiated without prejudice to the authentication of the video recordings or electronic data yet this is stand is difficult to prove in a Court of Law.

Actually it is the fault of the Investigating Agencies and Indian Government that have failed to take appropriate and immediate action in this regard. If the Investigation Agencies had acted “Expeditiously”, Crucial Digital Evidence would have already been placed “On Hold”.

It is also high time to spread Awareness about and ensure necessary Techno Legal Skills Development for Cyber Law of India, Digital Evidencing, E-Discovery Procedure in India and Cyber Forensics Application to various Civil and Criminal cases in India. Till now this Awareness is missing and Investigation Authorities and Courts are not insisting upon holding the Crucial Digital Evidence.

 A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has been pending before the Supreme Court of India to ask Indian Government to prescribe Regulations and Guidelines for Effective Investigation of Cyber Crimes in India. This is also a good opportunity for the Supreme Court and Indian Government to take care of Paper Evidence Scanning and E-Discovery Legal Issues in India and Optical Character Recognition (OCR) Legal Issues India.

We would come up with further report on this issue very soon.

Source: E-Discovery Services In India.

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