Indian police have arrested four men suspected of leaking an episode of one of the world’s most popular TV shows.
The men were arrested in Mumbai after an investigation into the leak of an episode of HBO’s Game of Thrones before its scheduled release on August 7. The suspects are connected to Star India, which has the rights to air the hit TV series in the country.
They appeared in court for a preliminary hearing Monday. The police have until August 21 to charge the men.
Three are employees of Prime Focus Technologies, an independent company that handles Star India’s data, Mumbai police’s deputy commissioner for cybercrime, Akbar Pathan, told CNNMoney on Tuesday. The fourth is a former employee of Prime Focus Technologies.
A version of Game of Thrones Season 7 Episode 4 — ‘The Spoils of War’ — bearing a Star India watermark was released online last week, a few days before it was scheduled to air.
“This is the first time in the history of Star India that an incident of this nature has occurred,” the company said in a statement Tuesday. “We are deeply grateful to the police for their swift and prompt action.”
HBO, which like CNN is owned by Time Warner (, )faced its own cyberattack just days before the India leak.
The hackers claim to have 1.5 terabytes of data, and reportedly posted episodes of several HBO shows including Game of Thrones, Ballers, Room 104 and the upcoming show Barry on a website called “winter-leaks.com.” The website was subsequently taken down.
A Star India spokeswoman told CNNMoney that the Indian leak is not connected to the larger HBO hack. Prime Focus Technologies was not immediately available for comment on Tuesday, a national holiday in India.
This is not the first time Game of Thrones, based on the popular fantasy novels by author George R.R. Martin, has had to deal with leaked episodes. Four episodes of the show’s fifth season were leaked before the season premiere in April 2015.
— Karma Gurung contributed reporting