ATS asks Maharashtra govt for stricter laws against hoax callers
The ATS’ move comes after a spike in the number of hoax calls since the Islamic State (IS) started targeting youth from the statemumbai Updated: Mar 20, 2016 01:13 IST
Prank calling the police could lead to jail time of up to three years, with the anti-terrorism squad asking the Maharashtra government for a strict law against hoax callers.
The ATS’ move comes after a spike in the number of hoax calls since the Islamic State (IS) started targeting youth from the state. In its letter to the government, the ATS said hoax-call cases went up to 574 in 2015, compared to a little more than 100 in 2014.
“Earlier, around 100 to 200 cases of hoax calls would be registered a year. But, in the past few years, there has been a drastic rise . There have been cases where people make hoax calls about bombs on trains if they are about to miss one. There have even been cases where the caller claims someone is carrying explosives, in a bid to take revenge on that person,” said an ATS officer, not wishing to be named.
Currently, section 506 of the IPC (punishment for criminal intimidation) is used against those making hoax calls, but this is not a cognisable offence, officers said.
To make it cognisable, other sections of the IPC and IT acts are imposed. “Hoax callers never use their original names, so when they are caught, we apply sections of impersonation, and some other sections depending on the nature of the call , so that we have a cognisable case and can arrest the accused . Even after arresting them, they are bailed out in a week ,” said an officer.
The ATS has requested the government to ensure laws are created to ensure those accused of such cases are put behind bars for between one and three years.
Stricter laws will also ensure the time of the force is not wasted. An officer said on receiving a hoax call, 50 policemen are dispatched to the spot. “Local police stations, crime branch units, BDDS, dog squads and various other agencies are involved,” he added.
“For callers, it’s just a prank, but we cannot take any call for granted and we end up wasting time and manpower. These people should be put behind bars for a longer duration so people think twice before committing such crimes,” another ATS officer told HT.