The cyber cell of Delhi Police is going to be restructured and made into an individual unit in the force. In a few days, it will move out of the economic offences wing and function independently under an officer of the rank of special commissioner.
The new unit will work in tandem with Special Cell and the chief technology officer, who is handling modernisation projects, sources said. A formal order is likely to be issued by commissioner Amulya Patnaik early next week.
The scope of operation of the new unit will go beyond investigating cybercrimes. It will now keep a watch on online radicalisation, propaganda on the internet and social media and also help in intelligence gathering, sources told TOI.
The process to revamp the cyber cell was taken up last year after Prime Minister Narendra Modi emphasised on the problems arising out of social media and cybercrimes saying they should be dealt with on highest priority.
The work was put on fast track after the PM spoke at length on this issue at the annual conference of DGPs and IGPs at BSF Academy earlier this month. Modi had said that there was an emerging global consensus towards greater information sharing on illicit financial dealings and India could play a key role in achieving this.
While the details of the restructuring have not been made public yet, TOI has learnt that there will be two DCP-rank officers in the unit. While one will handle the investigations and intelligence, the other will focus on training, awareness and administration. Special commissioner M M Oberoi, who is currently heading Special Cell, will be given charge of this unit. Earlier, he had been posted at the cybercrime unit of Interpol in Singapore.
In all, four DCPs will report to Oberoi who is currently spearheading Delhi Police’s 10-year action plan to make a complete switch to technology-aided policing by 2027. TOI had first reported about this plan in October last year. Lieutenant governor Anil Baijal is himself monitoring the developments.
Apart from the usual crimes like credit and debit card fraud, lottery scams, insurance frauds and cases of impersonation, the new unit will focus on crimes related to cryptocurrency and ransomware. The crime branch will continue running its cyber unit for assistance in day-to-day investigations.
The new unit, sources said, will be armed with latest infrastructure and technology, like open source intelligence network, enterprise information integration solution and sentiment analysis programmes.
It will also have technology to retrieve chat logs from WhatsApp, Trillian, Skype, Hello, Miranda, apart from recovering deleted data from applications like Kik, Whisper, Vkontakt, Jott Messenger, TextFree, TextPlus, etc. They will also be able to extract deleted emails from Thunderbird, Eudora, The Bat, etc.
“We will be working on data analytics-based predictive policing, connecting multi-jurisdictional records, centralised database for remote suspect verification. There will be a centralised monitoring system to launch advanced surveillance and investigation tools, like facial recognition linked to CCTVs across the city to identify suspects,” said an officer.