Mumbai-based Chinmay Dash reportedly lost Rs 1.75 lakh to cyber crime recently, according to a report by The Times of India. Dash woke up one morning to find his cellphone without any network. The problem persisted even after he put his SIM into an other handset. Later, he was alarmed to find a message from his service provider, informing him that the request to change the SIM card had been accepted; Dash had made no such request. He immediately contacted his service provider, only to be told that only a day prior (November 25), the particular request had been made. Incidentally, because he was a ‘valued customer’, Dash could make such requests over the phone. 


Dash believes local police do not have expertise to deal with cyber crime (Image credit: Getty Images)

Fearing the worst, he decided to check his bank account next, since his phone number had been registered for online transactions. Much to his horror, Dash was informed by the bank that Rs 1.75 lakh had been transferred out of his account to other bank accounts in UP and Rajasthan, over a series of 11 transactions. Reports quoted Dash as narrating, “It took me eight days simpley to get my complaint accepted by the cyber crime cell at Bandra-Kurla Complex. The officers have told me they don’t have sufficient manpower and that an FIR should be registered at the Samta Nagar police station in whose jurisdiction I reside. The FIR was registered on December 3, but frankly, the local police neither have the technical expertise nor the training to understand cyber crimes. I was told that the cyber crime cell would conduct a parallel investigation. I hope the two don’t end up passing the buck.”

The bank, in the meanwhile, has refused to refund Dash’s money. “The bank hasn't got back to me as to whose accounts in UP and Rajasthan the money has gone to and what action has been taken against them. Also, how could the phone service provider deactivate my SIM and issue a new one without my providing any documentation or signing any form? I'm going to pursue this matter till the end and also approach the consumer court,” he rues. 

Rising instances of cyber crime aren’t unheard of, both in India and globally. What Dash is experiencing paints a harsh picture of our preparedness, or the lack of it to such instances. 

In a revelation the government made recently, it said that last year, more than 1,600 people were arrested for cyber crimes registered under the Information Technology Act, 2000 and under sections of Indian Penal Code (IPC). In a written reply to the Rajya Sabha, Milind Deora, Minister of State for Communications noted, “As per the crime data maintained by National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), a total of 154, 178, 288, 799 and 1,184 persons were arrested for cyber crimes registered under IT Act, 2000 during 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011, respectively.”

The IT Act, 2000, allows detection/tracking on cyber crimes and punishment to culprits, thereby providing a legal framework to address issues pertaining to such crimes in the cyber space. Deora added that a total of 429, 195, 263, 394 and 446 persons were arrested for cyber crimes registered under sections of IPC relating to cyber crime cases during 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011, respectively. “As per the crime data maintained by NCRB, a total of 217, 288, 420, 966 and 1,791 cyber crime cases were registered under IT Act, 2000 during the years 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011, respectively, thereby showing a rising trend,” he added further. 

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