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Retrieving Bollywood Celebs’ Chats in Drug Case: Only Device Cloning Can Give Access, Says WhatsApp

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The ongoing probe into the late actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s suicide in Mumbai shed light on Bollywood's drug culture and led to the arrest of his former girlfriend Rhea Chakraborty and her brother Showik. The retrieval of the deleted Whatsapp chats of celebs now threatens to scandalise many A-listers.

Probing drugs and celeb nexus in the tragic suicide of actor Sushant Singh Rajput, who hung himself in his apartment in June, has left Indians looking for answers, and cast a critical light on the narcotics culture of Bollywood, which is being called Mumbai's 'drug nexus'.

Tasked with investigating the matter, India’s Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) reportedly cloned the mobile phones of celebrities, which gave them access to their deleted WhatsApp messages. These are now being investigated in an ongoing probe into India's tinseltown.

However, their methods have raised many questions about the safety of the messaging app, which claims to feature “end-to-end encryption” and boasts that “only you and the person you're communicating with can read what is sent.”

In a clarification, a WhatsApp spokesperson said in a statement: “To access encrypted WhatsApp data, security and investigating agencies can take a user's phone and create a 'clone' of it on another device. This gives them access even to deleted messages with a 'mirror image' of a phone, after which all data can be transferred to the separate device.”

After the NCB retrieved the Whatsapp chats of Bollywood celebrities Rhea Chakraborty, Deepika Padukone and many others connected with the drug scene and the late actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s death, it made some shocking revelations about the film industry's drug nexus.

The 2017 chat of Deepika asking for drugs from her manager Karishma Parkash and last year’s drug-themed chat between Rhea and her brother Showik, as well as with Sushant’s manager Jaya Saha have surfaced in the media.

Although WhatsApp says in its security settings that there is end-to-end encryption for all their messages, they have pointed out that the media and messages backed up on Google Drive or any such Cloud service isn't protected by them and can easily be retrieved.

Pointing out that “WhatsApp doesn't have access to your message content,” the spokesperson further added, “Whatsapp follows guidance provided by operating system manufacturers for on-device storage, and we encourage people to take advantage of all the security features provided by operating systems such as strong passwords or biometric IDs to prevent third parties from accessing content stored on the device."

The NCB has now summoned actresses Deepika Padukone, Sara Ali Khan, Shraddha Kapoor and Rakul Preet Singh for interrogation in connection with the drug case. 

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