Almost 10 days after the unreleased Episode 4 of Game of Thrones (GoT) Season 7 was leaked, the Maharashtra Police on Monday arrested four people from Bengaluru, who were allegedly involved in the dissemination of material regarding the HBO show.
All accused were produced before the court and sent into police custody for a week.
Special Inspector General of Police (Cyber), Brijesh Singh said that the episode (Season 7, Episode 4) of the HBO adaptation of a fantasy novel series, "A Song of Ice and Fire" authored by George R.R. Martin, was leaked and made available for viewing on the internet by some persons.
The episode was scheduled to be aired for viewing in US on August 6 and India on August 7, was leaked online from Star India.
"Officers of the Cyber & PAW conducted preliminary enquiry and basis of the electronic trail and other technical material, zeroed in on Prime Focus Technologies -- the agency contracted by Star India Private Ltd to manage the data -- as being responsible for the illegal leakage of the episode," the statement said.
Prime Focus Technologies accepted that the leakage had happened at its end and lodged an FIR against an employee alleging that he, along with another former employee and other persons, unauthorisedly gained access to the episode and leaked it.
"Authorities swooped in on the Bengaluru office of Prime Focus Technologies from where the leakage was apprehended to have occurred and carried out interrogation of the employees throughout the night on August 11," the statement added.
The information and material collected from the Bengaluru office of Prime Focus Technologies and the Mumbai Police station was analysed and it established the role and involvement of various persons, including existing and former employees as well as outsiders.
Meanwhile, Star India, which along with Novi Digital Pvt Ltd, complained about the matter to police, said they were delighted with the speed and rigour with which the authorities moved on this investigation.
"This is the first time in the history of Star India that an incident of this nature has occurred. We are deeply grateful to the police for their swift and prompt action. We at Star India & Novi Digital Entertainment Private Limited stand committed and ready to help the law enforcement agencies with any technical assistance and help they may require in taking the investigation to its logical conclusion," the statement added.
On August 4, mobile comparison website 'Smartprix' spotted a direct link to the MP4 of the episode at Star India's own distribution site.
Later, people started downloading GoT Episode 4 and sharing the clip with friends on various social media platforms.
The leaked Episode 4 has Star India's logo appearing throughout the episode leaked on the internet.