To tackle cybercrime, Himachal Pradesh to establish ICE units in nine districts | Chandigarh News | #cybercrime | #infosec

The Himachal Pradesh police has decided to establish Integrated Cyber Extended (ICE) units in nine districts lacking cyber police stations to address the increasing cyber crimes in the state.

Currently, only three cyber cell police stations exist in the state — Mandi, Kangra and Shimla. Complaints related to cybercrime from nine districts, including Lahaul and Spiti, Una, Bilaspur, Sirmaur, Chamba, Kullu, Hamirpur, Solan and Kinnaur are forwarded to these three police stations for investigation. Officials said the decision to open ICE units was taken in response to a surge in cyber crimes over the past five years. “Between 2019 and 2022, the three police stations jointly received an average of 11 cybercrime complaints per day, which rose to 44 in 2024.

The number went to approximately 248 per day on the centralized 1093 cyber helpline number in the state. Despite their best efforts, the three dedicated cyber cell police stations are unable to handle all complaints,” they said.

DIG Cyber Crime (CID), Mohit Chawla, said, “Himachal may lag in national cybercrime reporting rankings, but cyber crimes have surged in the state. Last year’s multicrore cryptocurrency scam worth approximately Rs 1,740 crore is a prime example. Given that Himachal is a mountainous state, it’s not feasible for everyone to travel to Shimla, Kangra or Mandi to follow up on their complaints. ICE units will be opened in the nine districts to facilitate public access.”

“Mandi, Kangra and Shimla districts have reported the highest number of cyber cases. However, the trend is changing, with people in remote areas like Lahaul and Spiti, Kinnaur, Sirmaur and Chamba also falling victim to cyber fraud in significant numbers,” he added. Besides a cryptocurrency fraud amounting to Rs 1,740 crore was reported in the state in 2023, and over 400 complaints were received from districts Mandi, Una, Bilaspur and Kangra.

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Officials said, “DGP has provisionally approved the establishment of ICE units in the nine districts, with capable police personnel to be deployed to investigate cyber crimes.” As per the breakup of total complaints received every day on 1098, 72 per cent are related to financial frauds, 19 per cent to social media frauds, and 9 per cent are inquiries regarding actions to take in case of phone hacking or how to file a cyber complaint.

On March 27, the Himachal Pradesh High Court in Shimla made groundbreaking instructions to various courts in the state, directing them not to order FIR in cases where applicants seek to recover funds lost in cyber frauds.

The instruction was issued after police found lodging an FIR in each complaint, especially where the money was promptly recovered by the concerned cyber police stations, would not be feasible.

© The Indian Express Pvt Ltd

First uploaded on: 18-04-2024 at 07:58 IST

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