Caught unawares by a recent flood of cyber crimes that it did not quite know how to tackle, Delhi Police is getting its act together by setting up two dedicated cyber forensic labs as well as training policemen on the intricacies of the Internet.
The incidents of cyber crime range from hacking to data tampering. With the number of Internet subscribers shooting up, and along with it incidents of cyber crime, the police are feeling the heat. The past six months have seen the number of Internet subscribers climbing from 1.023 million to 2.04 million, according to ministry of information technology.
The states with the highest Internet users include Maharashtra at 619,524, Delhi with 319,616, Tamil Nadu 291,032, Karnataka 193,876, West Bengal 160,054 and Gujarat with 113,633.
According to Delhi Police, 17 cases related to hacking, obscenity, e-commerce fraud (online share trading, credit card fraud), Internet-related crimes like copyright violation and misrepresentation on the Internet were registered last year.
Ill-equipped to handle such cases, police are setting up two dedicated cyber forensic labs in the city - one in Malviya Nagar and the other in Lodhi Colony - with fully trained staff.
Delhi Police spokesperson Rajan Bhagat said, "All the policemen there have been given required training according to their rank. Training for a constable will be different from that for an inspector."
One of the recent cases of cyber crime that came to light was of Amita Singh, chairperson of Jawaharlal Nehru University's Centre for Study of Law and Governance, who found last week that someone had accessed her server and hacked her e-mail ID.
She came to know of the crime after she got calls from friends and relatives from across the world asking how she was. The hacker had sent mails to all on her mailing list seeking money to get her out of a hotel in Nigeria where, the email said, she was stuck after losing all her money, valuables and passport.
When she went to file a complaint, she found to her horror that most police officers did not know how to catch a criminal in the virtual world.
Singh said, "I was shocked to hear from some policemen that Delhi Police are not equipped to handle such cases and that they had never till date handled a case like this."
A senior police official acknowledged: "Police personnel have no training on how to tackle such crimes. Therefore many such cases also go unreported."
Speaking on condition of anonymity, he stated that most policepersonnel, even up to the rank of assistant commissioner of police (ACPs), loathed investigating cyber crimes.
"People who have suffered cyber crimes will find it difficult to get their complaints registered in any of the 129 police stations," the official confessed. "We actually are in a situation where complaints are not looked into - and that is what is worrying us."
Police are yet to get a handle on who was behind posting the nude profile of a Delhi airhostess on Orkut, a public sharing domain. "We are looking into the case but have not got any tangible leads," said a senior official.
According to noted cyber crime lawyer Pavan Duggal, tracking a hacker or cyber criminal is not difficult, as technology has advanced. "It takes just a few hours to nab a hacker, but our police remain way behind these criminals."
According to a recent survey by Duggal, only 50 out of every 500 cyber crime cases in and around Delhi get reported. Of this, only one case is registered.
"The other main reason behind not registering the cases is because of the police personnel's inability and hesitance. Their promotion depends on the number of cases they solve in a year. We need experts who are efficient and trained to fight this new crime which is now only going to increase," he added.
There have been convictions in only two cases in Delhi so far.