Akshita Attri always got away with a bit of con job. So after being sacked by her company for furnishing forged documents to get employed, she dug up the credit card information of a client and misused it to holiday with her two boyfriends over a year in foreign locales. Her lucky stint ended last year and she is now behind bars – wondering how her online exploits ever got tracked by the police.
Going by the cyber cell’s track record, one cannot help but feel a tinge of sympathy for Attri’s predicament.
Though Gurgaon proudly wears the label of IT City with over 500 IT-BPO firms adorning its business complexes, the police are battling in courts to get even a single conviction done in the 1,500-odd cases registered ever since the cyber crime branch of the Gurgaon police was formed in 2008.
That Attri’s cyber con ever got noticed and she was put behind bars is a rare feat of the ‘toothless’ cyber cell.
Dubbed as the heartland of India’s outsourcing business, Gurgaon is a nerve centre of crucial official and personal cyber data of thousands of MNCs and millions of people worldwide.
This makes the city’s cyber space prone to perpetrators of online crime.
In that backdrop, zero conviction and just 1,500 cases in the police records is nothing but the harsh reality that cyber crime may have creeped into peoples’ lives in one form or the other – banking frauds and impersonation on social networking sites to cite a couple.
Pavan Duggal, an eminent cyber law expert and a Supreme Court lawyer, makes a reference to the grim picture. “Ever since the internet service was commercially launched in India on August 15 in 1995, there have only been seven convictions in cyber crime cases,” he says.
“We don’t have a distinct law on cyber crime. The existing IT Act 2000 and the related sections of the IPC (Indian Penal Code) are not amply effective to deal with cyber crime,” he adds.
Pavan says that barring few cases such as cyber terrorism, child pornography and breach of protected cyber space, all kinds of cyber offences have been made bailable after the 2008 amendments in the IT Act.
A visible trend in the cyber crime cases is that most of the perpetrators are below 35 years of age. These young men and women are mostly white -collared and computer-literate urban workers. Close to two lakh executives work in Gurgaon’s IT-BPO firms, according to industry body Nasscom. Thanks to this new tech-savvy generation, increasing online transactions, internet penetration, online security loopholes, several cases of online frauds have come to light.
These frauds largely involve misuse of debit/credit cards and hacking of net banking accounts. Such crimes are mostly committed for easy money and to fulfill the growing desires that a high life commands. Besides, most of the perpetrators feel they can easily get away with cyber crime.
Besides data theft, cases of defaming ex spouse by putting his or her vulgar pictures and intimate videos on social networking sites are also increasing in Gurgaon.
Inspector Suresh Kumar, who heads Gurgaon’s cyber crime cell, says that most of the crimes are committed by disgruntled employees of a firm or by estranged partners.