Web loss: Goa’s cybercrime cell has no tooth to byte

PANAJI: Shocked at discovering thata fake social media profile is being operated in her name, a teenager in the state is running from pillar to post to get her complaint registered. She first approached the local station, which directed her to the cell of Goa police. However, here too, justice has been elusive as her complaint was never registered despite assurances.
This case just goes on to highlight the pathetic state of the cybercrime cell of Goa police, which receives several complaints every day. Complaints are not registered due to lack of staff and poor logistics, police said.

As of date, there are over 1,000 complaints pending registration at the cell, sources said, adding that, on an average, the cell registers around 15 first information reports (FIR) per year, of which 50% of cases are solved. Sources said that cases that remain unsolved are usually because of factors like faulty KYC.

Superintendent of police (crime branch) Karthik Kashyap told STOI, “We are in the process of procuring all logistical help and increasing the cell’s manpower.”

Police sources said the cybercrime cell in the state has a skeletal staff which includes a police inspector (PI) and some other staff.

Stating that the infrastructure, too, was lacking, police sources added, “The government has not given approval to renew the software licence, which has to be done every two years. The cell also lacks upgraded hardware, which is hampering investigation.”

As per the Information Technology Act, 2000, only an officer of the rank of PI and above can investigate cybercrime cases. Police sources said a proposal was sent to the government to increase the strength of the cell immediately, but it is pending.

Police sources said that, as per the Bureau of Police Research and Development, the cell should have a staff comprising 100 police personnel, including 10 PIs and police sub-inspectors, each.

In December 2013, the state government had granted permission to set up a cybercrime cell in the state.

The cell is empowered to investigate financial crimes involving cheating, credit card frauds, money laundering, cyber photography involving production and distribution of pornographic material, sale of illegal articles such as narcotics, weapons, wildlife, intellectual property crime such as theft of computer source codes, software piracy,