The state government may have directed the Mumbai police’s cyber cell to monitor networking sites – after the police busted a rave party in Raigad on Sunday – to spot online invites for rave parties, but the police are not sure how useful it will be in cracking down on such parties.
The state ordered the police to focus on these sites after it was found that many of the invites for the rave party held at a resort in Raigad had been sent through a popular social networking site.
Himanshu Roy, joint police commissioner (crime), said: “The cyber wing can trawl the Internet and look for suspicious invites. We have the expertise to decipher coded messages posted online.”However, the cyber cell has no experience in tracking such posts online, and it has never helped the police with a tip-off about such parties. “The intelligence network is one of the main tools for bust ing rave parties in the past,” an officer said, on condition of anonymity. “Usually, when we get a tip-off, we send someone to the party. Once we get confirmation that drugs are being supplied there, we raid it.”
The police don’t have much hope that combing social networking sites will help. “Even though social networking sites are used by party organisers to inform people about the date and location of rave parties, it’s done furtively and the invites are coded,” an officer said, requesting anonymity. Now, party organisers will be even more cautious, he added. “Invites may not be posted on public domains and may be sent through private messages only,” he said.
The cyber cell has the technical know-how to track down the person or the terminal used to post a message, so the main task is to be able to identify a post as a rave party invite.
“We do cyber patrolling daily. It involves browsing through several websites in search of incriminating or suspicious material. We have busted betting and black ticketing rackets in this manner. But those cases were relatively easier as the accused conveyed their intention to sell a ticket or accept bets in as many words,” an officer from the city police’s cyber wing said, requesting anonymity. “In the case of rave party invites, organisers are cautious and use code words or slangs. They are also selective about the invitees and operate in groups. This makes the task more tough.”
Cyber expert Vijay Mukhi is confident that the cyber cell will be able to help. “They could pose as youngsters on networking sites, they could also be in touch with youngsters who can inform them when they hear about such parties,” Mukhi suggested.