The DIG’s office, where the cyber police station will come up, in Ranchi on Wednesday. Picture by Hardeep Singh
Hounded by e-criminals? File an FIR soon.
Four years after Jharkhand came up with a Cyber Defence Research Centre (CDRC) at its police headquarters in Ranchi, it has taken another giant stride in the same direction by deciding to launch the state’s first thana exclusively for internet crimes in the capital sometime in May.
Site for the special police station was identified on DIG office premises at Kutchery Chowk on Tuesday. On Wednesday morning, officials from the Jharkhand Police Housing Corporation inspected the premises and are learnt to have given the go-ahead for the project, which will get underway by next week.
DIG, Ranchi (South Chotanagpur), Praveen Kumar Singh said the team had prepared an estimate for repairs needed on the ground floor of his office building to shape up the cyber thana. “Some renovation is needed before the police station can start functioning. To my understanding, in another week’s time, we will be in a position to begin full-fledged,” Singh added.
This designated police station will function under the CID. Additional director-general of CID S.N. Pradhan said they would formally launch the thana once the model code of conduct was lifted.
“In the meantime, our priority is to get infrastructure ready and for all practical purpose. This will take around two months. We will require a basic technical set-up. Tomorrow (Thursday), a team from CID will visit the site for inspection and planning activities. If we manage to get things done before two months, we will slowly begin work. However, the police station will be formally inaugurated only after the elections are over,” Pradhan added.
Jharkhand has seen a spurt in cyber crimes in the last two years.
Besides threat mails to UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and finance minister P. Chidambaram in the past, cases in recent times include ATM frauds, cyber bullying, hacking of IDs, and swindling people with fake mobile and lottery schemes. In the past week alone, two cases of online withdrawal of money by fraudulent means were reported in Namkum and Lalpur.
What makes matters more trying for victims is that regular police stations fail to register cyber complaints or act on them because of ignorance and lack of expertise.
Pradhan conceded the shortcomings and said this was also a reason why few cases were reported. “Even today, we received twin grievances — one from Ranchi and another from Giridih. But, believe me, the quantum of cyber frauds is much more. The incidents are just not reported,” he added.
How will a cyber police station help?
“According to plan, the first such thana (in Ranchi) will be a centralised one. It will have multiple purposes. First, it will be able enough to take up district, state, national and international cases as and when required. Second, it will help regular police stations register and crack cyber crimes,” the ADG (CID) said.
“I want to make it clear once again that a Net crime can be reported at any police station even when the special thana comes into being. These can seek help from the designated police station, which will be manned by CID officers specially trained for the purpose. A DSP-rank officer will be in-charge of the cyber thana,” he offered hope.