This is going to be yet another article that will attempt to shed some light on the NCBL domain name saga that came up in the BAI brawl. You can pick up useful information from articles by other Mauritian bloggers:
Yesterday afternoon, Shakeel Mohammed, the lawyer defending the interest of the Rawats in the BAI case, held a press conference whereby he explained to journalists how a document was left anonymously in front of Laina Rawat's residence. The said document as he states, specifies that the domain name of the National Commercial Bank Ltd, i.e ncbl.mu, was reserved on 21 January 2015 and registered on 1 April 2015. He submitted the document to the Central CID for investigation as he claims if the information is true, it would lead him to believe that the take-over of Bramer Bank was premeditated. His main argument is that Bramer Bank's license was revoked on 2 April 2015 and therefore reservation/registration of ncbl.mu prior to that date indicates the person who registered the domain knew about Bramer Bank's license revocation in advance.
What's in the document?
The document is a printout of a whois record. In layman terms, a whois record is a piece of information that is publicly available for every registered domain name. Any person with a little bit of computer skills can visit whois.net and query the database for information about a particular domain name. The output is always given in plain text format. The text can then be either printed directly from the webpage or copied to a word processor (like Microsoft Word). I usually query whois databases from the command-line and the output is as follows:
whois record for ncbl.mu
The above screenshot dates back to 27 April 2015 when I wrote about the National Commercial Bank's website running on Wix.
The document produced by Mr. Shakeel Mohammed...
A copy of the document can be consulted at lexpress.mu.
The document presented by Shakeel Mohammed
The first anomaly is that of the "reserved date" which is mentioned as 21 January 2015. As per the whois specification of ICANN, the response format of a whois query does not include any row for "reserved date".
Domain reservation vs Domain parking
A domain name is either purchased or not purchased. There is no such thing as reserving a domain name. I noticed some people on Facebook sharing links saying that it is possible to reserve a domain. Sorry, that's called domain parking. When one buys a domain name, a server also is needed to host the web contents. If someone does not have a server yet, he/she may opt to park the domain at the registrar; then a page is usually displayed mentioning the domain is parked. Sadly, people mistook this to be the domain reservation as mentioned in the alleged ncbl.mu whois record.
When you buy a domain name, an entry in the Domain Name System (DNS) database is recorded. It refers to the "Creation Date". All subsequent changes to the DNS record will reflect as having an updated timestamp next to the "Updated Date". There is also a row for "Registry Expiry Date". A domain name can be purchased for 1 year, 2 years, 3 years or more. Domain names are sold in terms of years, not months, weeks or days. The next anomaly about the alleged ncbl.mu whois record is the duration of the domain name validity.
The document specifies the creation date and registry expiry date as follows:
Creation Date: 2015-04-01 Registry Expiry Date: 2016-04-09
That sums the domain validity to be 1 year and 8 days. Weird nah?
Earlier in the article I shared an image of the whois record of ncbl.mu which I queried on 27 April 2015. The dates were (and still are) as follows:
Creation Date: 2015-04-09 Registry Expiry Date: 2016-04-09
It makes ncbl.mu to be valid for exactly one year.
Poor typography & goofs
The document also features poor typography with the placement of colons,
:. A whois record is a computer generated report following a strict template. Note the placement of colons in the picture around the first registrant, registrant email, international address and updated registrant info.
The correct format should be
Registrant Name: John Smith and not
Registrant Name : John Smith. In some places there are no colons, while there should have been.
I can affirm the text in the document submitted by Shakeel Mohammed were added later & are botched. A more proper ncbl.mu whois record should be requested from the .mu Registry to clear doubts if there are still any.