J&K insensitive to cyber crime despite increase in cases during past 3 years

Mohinder Verma

JAMMU, Dec 5: At a time when cyber crime is emerging as serious threat worldwide and thrust is being laid on checking this menace with iron hands, Jammu and Kashmir Police has adopted most insensitive approach towards this grave issue despite the fact that number of cyber crime cases is on continuous rise during the past some years.
Reliable sources told EXCELSIOR that keeping in view the rising graph of cyber crimes across the country, the Department of Electronics and Information Technology of the Government of India had in the year 2010 set up cyber forensic training and investigation labs in different States of the country. One such lab was also established in Jammu and Kashmir for training of law enforcement agencies and members of judiciary.
The objective behind establishment of such a lab in Jammu and Kashmir was to train adequate number of police personnel for effective handling of cyber crime cases, which can have far-reaching implications including financial losses and theft of intellectual property.
The Department of Information Technology also formulated a set of investigation manuals with procedures for Search, Seizure Analysis and Presentation of digital evidence in the courts and the same were even circulated to the law enforcement agencies for adherence.
Shockingly, this lab has yet not been fully equipped to meet the objective behind its establishment, which is impacting the investigation in the cases of cyber crimes and also creating problems in having trained manpower and experts required to effectively deal with the criminal activities involving computers.
“What to talk of other facilities, this lab is also lacking forensic tools required for investigation and training”, sources informed while disclosing that in the absence of required paraphernalia, this lab is only being used for some sort of trainings.
They further disclosed that at present Jammu and Kashmir Police have only two cyber cells-one each at Jammu and Srinagar but the cases related to cyber crimes are not registered there but taken care of by the jurisdictional police stations. These two cells are only providing assistance in cyber crime cases but in the absence of experts what sort of outcome such assistance generates can be easily presumed.
The non-serious approach towards the cyber crime is notwithstanding the fact that during the past three years the number of such cases is increasing continuously.
As per the official data, in 2011, 14 cases related to cyber crime were registered in Jammu and Kashmir and three persons were arrested under Information Technology Act and related sections of Ranbir Penal Code (RPC). The number of cyber crime cases increased to 35 in 2012 involving arrest of 17 persons and in 2013 the cases surged to 46 involving arrest of 16 persons.
“This data cannot be taken in lighter vein especially in the light of the fact that such cases have far-reaching implications and the overall monetary impact of cybercrime in the country is estimated to be billions of dollars per year”, sources said.
When contacted, Inspector General of Police (Crime), Syed Javed Mujtaba confirmed that required number of forensic tools for the lab are yet to be procured. “We have set-up the process into motion in this regard and hopefully this lab would be fully equipped”, he added.
In response to a question, he said that besides funds sanctioned by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs under Police Modernization Scheme, allocations are also made by the Police Headquarters for strengthening of this lab.
He informed that a proposal has been mooted to set-up three exclusive cyber police stations-one each in Jammu and Srinagar and third one in Crime Branch. He, however, could not specify any time-frame for establishment of such police stations although he confirmed that cyber cells cannot register the cases.
The non-serious approach of the J&K Police towards increasing number of cyber crimes is notwithstanding the fact that Union Home Minister, Rajnath Singh, while addressing cops at Hyderabad’s National Police Academy in the recent past, had expressed concern over rising cyber crime and asked for preparation of effective strategy at the State level to curb the cyber crime.

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