Tuesday, August 16, 2022
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Maharashtra cyber has just 16 cops for 43 districts



Once a nodal agency, Maharashtra cyber is now dealing with serious cases like loan app scam, porn on OTT case; officers say staff crunch hurting probes

(From left) stte Cyber SP Sanjay Shintre, ADG Madhukar Pandey, IG Yashasvi Yadav at the state cyber HQ

Only six officers and ten staff: this is the total manpower of the state cyber, which is responsible for investigating cyber offences of 35 districts in police.

The state cyber earlier used to work as a nodal agency for the state police, but it now even registers FIRs to investigate important cases like the loan app harassment case. During coverage of the loan app harassment cases, mid-day found that only two inspectors, two assistant inspectors and two sub-inspectors had been allotted to the state cyber along with 10 staff. 

The cyber crime cell was set up by former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis in 2016. Fadnavis had also provided 44 cyber labs to all districts, which were to report to the Maharashtra cyber HQ in Mumbai. However, later, all the labs were given to the district police stations, and Maharashtra cyber started working only as a nodal agency for the state to assist in cases related to cyber fraud. 

“There are multiple works that we look after including updating of websites, sending complaints to the police station concerned and removing content from social media that could create law and order situations in the state,” a cyber officer told mid-day on the condition of anonymity.

Earlier, the state cyber did not register FIRs and investigate cases but now it has two cases—one related to pornography on OTT platforms and the second in the loan app case where it made five arrests from Karnataka. “We don’t even have a lock-up to keep the accused after arrest. Now we are setting it up like a proper police station to register FIRs in important cases. A recommendation has been made to the state home department to provide more personnel,” the officer said.

Also Read: Phone-tapping case: Mumbai cyber police seek court nod to question Nawab Malik

“The home minister has taken cognisance of cyber-related cases and has given clear instructions to the department concerned to thoroughly investigate each and every case. As far as manpower is concerned, the request file has been forwarded and the same will be sanctioned soon,” a source from the home department said.

The state cyber comes under special IG Yashasvi Yadav and SP Sanjay Shintre. Recently, Maharashtra DGP Rajneesh Seth made some changes in the reporting hierarchy, where the IG has to report to ADG Madhukar Pandey, whose original post was at the state Economic Offences Wing (EOW). Pandey now also looks after the state cyber and is the senior most officer there.



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