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Thursday, October 29, 2020

Himachal Pradesh: International agencies help track dozen cases of child pornography

Cases have been registered against individuals in the districts of Solan, Kullu and Kangra for browsing, downloading or transmitting content involving digital sexual abuse of children after the police received their IP addresses from the MHA.

By: Express News Service | Shimla | Updated: December 22, 2019 2:52:52 am
International non-government agencies have helped track down a dozen cases of child pornography in the Himachal Pradesh in the last three years, according to cybercrime officials. (Representational image)

International non-government agencies have helped track down a dozen cases of child pornography in the Himachal Pradesh in the last three years, according to cybercrime officials. Cases have been registered against individuals in the districts of Solan, Kullu and Kangra for browsing, downloading or transmitting content involving digital sexual exploitation or abuse of children after the police received their internet protocol (IP) addresses from the Ministry of Home Affairs.

“Some international organisations such as Tripline regularly monitor instances of child pornography across the world. They track down IP addresses of the perpetrators and send it to the home departments of the respective countries. In India, the MHA forwards the information to the state police that further sends it to the district level officials for taking necessary action,” explained Narveer Rathore, DSP Cyber Crime, while holding an awareness workshop here Saturday.

Rathore said that cybercrime is organised crime with criminals operating across the length and breadth of the country. In recent months, the use of electronic wallets in these crimes has given cyber fraudsters an edge over the investigating agencies, he said.

“In the case of Himachal Pradesh, more than 80 per cent of the accused have been from outside North India, and that’s why it’s a challenge to track them down,” he said. Talking about a case of online bank fraud from Mandi, Rathore said that an account holder received a call from the fraudsters after he had dialled a toll-free helpline. Once he gave away his credentials, his cell phone number got ported to another operator with a different customer name. The fraudsters then used his number to activate netbanking facility on his account before transferring all the money to 25-26 e-wallets across the country. As e-wallets do not require the full name or address of the user, locating the beneficiary becomes hard, said Rathore.

“In one case, we nabbed a culprit who had transferred Rs 31 lakh from a hotel’s account using a duplicate SIM card. He confessed that he was employed by a firm in Morena, Madhya Pradesh, to carry out these fraudulent activities. He even received a salary,” remarked director general of police SR Mardi, who introduced the workshop.

Mardi said that high ranking government officials, too, have often become victims of such crimes. “Victims are often lured by promises of easy money. A babu in the secretariat once deposited more than Rs 20 lakh as processing charges to receive an online lottery prize worth Rs 1.5 crore. Even after being duped, he was expecting to receive the prize money,” said Mardi.

SP Sandeep Dhawal from the state cyber crime cell said that the police often reach dead end when fraudsters use KYC details of unsuspecting victims such as international travellers and outstation students. He said that criminals are also using Jan Dhan accounts of other people to carry out financial frauds.

DSP Rathore said that crimes such as cyber stalking and photo-morphing could be a result of overuse of social media and lack of offline social activity. People must be on their guard while using ATMs, phones, and the internet, he said.

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