Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis is planning a complete overhaul of cyber policing in Maharashtra, with his office and the Mumbai police chief ’s office working on a project to set up a new 1,000-member cybercrime cell.
The unit will look into everything, from online financial frauds to social media harassment and cyber terrorism, and will even scan suspicious online posts for intelligence inputs.
Cybercrime has been high on the CM’s agenda and he had listed it as part of police reforms in his vision Maharashtra document released before the polls last year. Kaustubh Dawase, officer on special duty in the chief minister’s office, will drive the initiative, along with police commissioner Rakesh Maria’s office.
“The city and its metropolitan region have internet traffic in the range of 15GB a second. At present, we have little idea of what is happening and can happen on the web. With all government and private deals, from direct cash transfer for social subsidies to bank deals, happening online, there is no choice but to completely modernise our cyber policing,” said a senior home department official, adding a presentation on the project could be made to the CM next week.
Other than a few experts and hackers, the new cell will comprise existing personnel from the police force, who will undergo training. The training will be carried out in collaboration with industry experts and the chief minister’s office has already identified some experts.
At present, every commissionerate in the state is supposed to have a cybercrime cell, but only the ones in Mumbai and Pune have some significance. The Mumbai cell has 60 personnel attached to it.