V.S. Palaniappan

Government sanctions setting up of cyber crime unit

Coimbatore: The advent of Information Technology brought in a lot of advantages making every one hail the technology. But the misuse IT has its own share of emerging problems posing a serious challenge for the law enforcing agency in investigating cyber crime cases.

The spectrum of offences that could come under the purview of cyber crimes included obnoxious calls and SMS from cell phones, threats and obscene materials through e-mail, hacking of websites, frauds committed through misuse of ATM cards and credit cards by stealing the Credit Verification Value (CVV) numbers and Personal Identification Numbers (PIN) of credit cards for online purchases and trading.

Today the police with the expertise they had gained in resolving a number of cases were able to investigate and detect even the complicated, clueless crime cases by tracking the mobile numbers of the offenders. But, everything has come by way of experience in investigating cases.

Coimbatore City Police will soon have a cyber crime wing and the necessary orders had already come from the government. The process of setting up the unit with trained officers and manpower is on and the specialised investigation unit would soon start functioning, Kanhu Charan Mahali, City Police Commissioner said. To ensure that the personal had the basic functional knowledge about mobile phones, online transactions, Internet, computers and so on, periodical refresher courses were being conducted for the police personnel and the officers with the help of the Cyber Society of India.

At present, police officers in the rank of Sub-Inspectors and Inspectors belonging to the latest batches, especially those with a graduation, were being used for investigating such cases, since they had adequate knowledge about mobile phones and Internet by virtue of their education background as well as experience in using these latest tools.

But the officers belonging to the earlier batches required a formal training for investigating such cases. A proper training is paramount because more than detecting and resolving a case, the officers should know the modus operandi used for committing the offence. Investigation should not only resolve the case but come up with substantial evidence sustainable before the court of law to prove the offence and the involvement of the accused.

In addition, owing to the lack of a cyber crime unit and formal training in investigating such cases, officers tend to prosecute the offenders with the provisions in the existing Indian Penal Code and the provisions of the Information Technology Act 2000 were very rarely invoked.

The law demands that investigating officers should be in the rank of not less than Assistant Commissioners of Police/Deputy Superintendents of Police.

The force is yet to be equipped in terms of imparting training to such senior level officers, a senior police official pointed out.

When pointed out, Mr. Mahali said that officers were being sensitised on the need for making use of the relevant legal provision i.e., the IT Act whenever and wherever required and in the event of an offence qualifying for a prosecution under the IT Act, the investigating officers in such cases would be provided with the required assistance in terms of legal and technological expertise.