Phishing goes on in troubled waters, but solution eludes

Jagadish Angadi, July 07, 2016, Bengaluru, DHNS

Culprits use lacuna in system to escape; money-losers await justice

An unidentified man called up actor and director Prakash Belawadi’s wife posing as a bank employee in January this year and collected details of his debit card, along with pin number.

Later, Rs 90,000 was withdrawn from Belawadi’s account. Belawadi lodged a complaint with the Jayanagar police, but awaits justice as the case is not solved yet.

Belawadi’s is just one among several online cheating cases which are on the rise. The police are unable to solve many such cases and ensure better conviction due to some rules in the existing Information Technology Act (IT Act). Worried over the increasing trend of unconvicted IT frauds as it projects the police as inefficient in handling such offences, the top police officials have recommended to the government to exercise some discretionary powers to change the rules so that conviction rate goes up.

“There are 21 offences listed under the IT Act and 19 of them are triable at the JMFC court. The remaining two are triable at the sessions court. Lack of proper investigation by local police and lack of expertise in handling IT-related cases by judicial officers at the JMFC has resulted in huge pendency and less conviction rate. Hence, the police have recommended to the government to amend the Act to treat all IT offences as triable in the sessions courts, Karnataka,” ADGP (crime and technical services) Bhaskar Rao told Deccan Herald.

“Though the IT Act is a Central government law, state governments can decide the type of court for the trial of such cases. Offenders are found to be employing advocates expert in dealing with IT offences and go scot free as police and judicial officers lack the IT expertise. Hence, we have requested the government to permit the police to employ private advocates who are experts in dealing with IT offences,” he said.

Instructions have been given to all range IGPs, SPs and Commissioners to conduct a workshop for local police, government advocates and judicial officers about IT offences so that conviction rate increases, he said.

“The department is worried over the growing IT-related offences and lesser conviction rate across the state. Many foreign investors who are pumping their investment into the state, especially Bengaluru, may tend to think that their IT initiatives are not safe in Karnataka. A large number of victims await justice and the current system has failed to ensure justice. Moreover, IT offenders have used lacuna in the system and have gone scot free. It’s high time the conviction rate is increased and justice is done to the victims,” he said.

Cases from 2011 to May 31, 2016

Cases registered: 4,450
Total conviction: 24
Cases under investigation: 2,021
Cases undetected: 1,444
Cases disposed/acquitted: 10
Cases registered in Bengaluru city: 2,965

Police wishlist

Make all 21 offences in IT Act triable in sessions courts
Permit police to employ pvt advocates who deal with IT offences

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