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First Rahul Gandhi, now Vijay Mallya: A group of hackers is going after high-profile Indians on Twitter

Itika Sharma Punit
By Itika Sharma Punit

Co-editor, Quartz India

A little-known group of hackers has broken into yet another high-profile verified Twitter account in India.

On Dec. 09, the group that calls itself “Legion” hacked into the Twitter account of beleaguered Indian businessman Vijay Mallya. They also apparently accessed the former liquor baron’s email accounts.

This comes just days after similar attacks on the Twitter accounts of Indian National Congress and its vice-president Rahul Gandhi.

A Twitter India spokesperson could not be reached for comments. However, after the attack on Congress’ Twitter account on Dec. 01, the microblogging website had said: “As a company policy we do not comment on hacking of individual handles no matter how prominent the handles are.”

The chairman of India’s UB Group, Mallya has been absconding from India since March 02. The former member of the Rajya Sabha, India’s upper house of Parliament, is at the center of a probe into the now-shut Kingfisher Airlines, which owes over Rs9,000 crore to lenders in India.

Mallya has been accused of continuing with his lavish lifestyle while ignoring repayment demands of large Indian banks, missing court dates, and not paying out salaries to Kingfisher Airlines’ staff.

The hackers claimed they had access to documents including Mallya’s bank accounts, assets, passports, and offshore investments. Among other things, the hackers released copies of several personal documents of Mallya, such as his UK resident permit, Indian passport, credit card statements, and multiple communications with bankers and lawyers. Quartz has not yet verified the documents shared by the hackers.

Here are some screenshots of tweets from Mallya’s hacked Twitter account, which have since been removed:

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