Maharashtra has recorded almost double the number of cyber crime cases in 2017 as compared to last year, revealed a written reply tabled by the state government in the legislative council. The reply further showed that the lowest conviction rate was recorded in 2017 in the last six years. As per the statistics provided by the state government, in 2017, 4,035 cases of cyber crimes were registered under the IT Act, while 2,380 cases registered in 2016. The conviction rate also dropped to 16.67 per cent in 2017 from 23.53 per cent in 2016. In 2015, the state had recorded the highest conviction rate of 40.74 per cent.
Ranjit Patil, Minister of State for Home (Urban), was responding to a question raised by Congress legislator Satej Patil over increasing cases of cyber crimes in the state. “The conviction rate in cyber crimes is low and is a new challenge. The conviction rate is low as the prosecution lawyer do not have sufficient knowledge of cyber laws. So, we are now focusing on the capacity building and Rs 650 crore have been allocated for it,” said Patil, adding the lawyers would be given training to increase the conviction rate.
The capacity building would include having a dedicated building for the purpose, inducting manpower, spending on hardware and software technology and equipment for analysis, he added. Patil further said that the state government would soon come up with a “predictive policing policy” as a part of modernisation of the cyber security program. “The predictive policing policy wherein the police will use the past records of miscreants trying to fuel unrest on social media and will ensure that such incidents are repeated,” he added.
Besides, cyber labs have been developed at 47 places in the state and that 138 officers have been trained in cyber crimes and cyber technology. “On the lines of Centre’s Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT), the state government will form “MH-CERT”. So that we don’t have to depend on the Union government to help in instances where social media is used for (spreading) rumours that leads to deterioration in law and order,” said Patil.