IT Act itself challenge in probing cybercrimes, says Mumbai Police Chief

Mumbai has already topped the charts in terms of cybercrimes in the state in the first quarter of 2022, having registered the highest number of cases among all Commissionerates in Maharashtra

Gautam S. MengleUpdated: Tuesday, June 07, 2022, 12:15 AM IST
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Mumbai Police Commissioner Sanjay Pandey |

Amidst the rising menace of cybercrimes, including the recent spate of cases involving loan apps, Mumbai Commissioner of Police Sanjay Pandey on Monday indicated that it’s an uphill task as the cases under the Information Technology Act can only be probed by a police inspector (PI) rank officer but there are only 3,000 PIs in the force.

A senior police officer said that even though cases involving loan apps had multiple laws invoked, the fact that the crime was committed using the internet and electronic devices make them automatically eligible for the IT Act. This, in turn, means that a PI rank officer had to be compulsorily appointed as the investigating officer of every such case, leading to an increased workload and pendency.

The city topped the charts in terms of cybercrimes in the state in the first quarter of 2022, having registered the highest number of cases among all Commissionerates in Maharashtra. Mumbai is also witnessing an increasing number of cases where apps offer loans without any collateral, and then harass the borrowers into paying far more than taken, using a variety of intimidation tactics.

“The challenge is the Act itself. There are about 3000 police inspectors in the Mumbai police and each of them is handling multiple cases already. This makes it challenging for the officers to investigate speedily,” Pandey said on Monday.

According to latest statistics from the Maharashtra cyber department, a total of 2,441 cases of cybercrime were registered across the state. Of these, 1,468 cases were registered in Mumbai alone. Further, only 76 per cent of these cases have been detected so far, with the police arresting 104 accused in cases lodged this year. Statistics also reveal that the city has seen a 200 per cent rise in the number of cases as compared to last year. The figure for 2022 is a steep increase as compared to 2021, when 777 cases were registered from January to April.

An officer said that investigating cybercrimes involves frequent back-and-forth with multiple entities in order to obtain the relevant technical evidence, which is also a major cause of the time taken in probing these cases. Further, thanks to the internet, a person sitting in one corner of the country can target someone at the other end, and hence, the investigation more often than not extends beyond state borders, which by itself is a challenge.

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