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Dr Balsing Rajput IPS

Sky is the limit in cyber space but this great technological acceleration also serves as a platform for white collared criminals. With the wealth & esteem of institutions and individuals as also the precious research work of nations vulnerable to cyber attacks at all times, the job of officers like Dr Balsing Rajput is cut out. He and his team have, however, proved equal to the task. 

Technology is a double-edged weapon, but in a nation that is getting increasingly deep-fried in communication advances, it is becoming appallingly obvious that technology is exceeding humanity. The real problem is not whether technology thinks but whether people who use it do. Human indiscretion has made people susceptible to be robbed, stalked, bullied and harassed. To add insult to injury, there is the social media which has become a veritable battleground where insults fly from the human quiver, damaging lives, destroying self-esteem and a person’s sense of self-worth. The Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime -Preventive), Dr Balsing Rajput has done commendable and path-breaking work in Prevention as the Men in Khaki grapple with burgeoning cyber crime cases. Alongside, he has been playing a stellar role in spreading Cyber Literacy.

That Dr Rajput has a Master’s in Technology, a Doctorate from the reputed TISS and synthesizes his investigative skills with effective articulation and research, gives him a distinct advantage in dealing what is considered as a white collar crime. Not only does he have strategic and technical expertise in Cyber Security, he has first-hand experience of building over 50 cyber labs and 40-plus cyber police stations in the Maharashtra. He has led the implementation of the Automatic Multimodal Biometric Identification System project. He was part of the Indian Cyber Security delegation to Israel in 2016 and Estonia in 2019. As the team leader of Maharashtra Cyber Digital Crime Unit, he developed anti-piracy solutions that won the “IP Champions Award “of the USA Chamber of Commerce besides being active on international for a.

The officer has led capacity-building efforts for Cyber Security and Cyber Crime investigation for Maharashtra police though long-term training programs and has worked extensively to prevent online exploitation of children and women in cyberspace through initiatives like Operation Blackface and Cyber Safe Woman campaign.

Underscoring the importance of Cyber Security with an incisive overview, Dr Rajput explains the scenario in Conversion Technology which on the flip side can also be disruptive.”Cyber Security assumes extraordinary importance as it has become a copious source of transactions be it Entertainment, Commerce, Shopping, Booking, Storage on devices like the computer and cell phone. The Internet is like a salt that serves utility in every food item. With the technology used across a wide spectrum of platforms, Cyber Security also becomes vital as industries, institutions, media depend on them for various transactions,” he points out.

Referring to how the Social Media has queered the pitch in rendering the situation turbid, Dr Rajput makes out a case how prevention becomes paramount. The police have to constantly update themselves. We are living in a world that is continuously driven by technological changes. In two decades from now, there will be better applications in all spheres and the earlier ones may become obsolete and redundant. To that extent it is also a disruptive process where old order maketh a way for the new. Being used by one and all, each one of us is vulnerable. Our findings show that from 2000 to 2016, over 60% of the cases were for illegal (read financial) gains. The other cases related to harassment of women and children and political abuse.”

The officer is at pains to illuminate the disconcerting fact that cyber frauds are swamping people’s lives with each passing day. “They are increasing in geometrical progression. Take the example of Cosmos Bank which was swindled out of Rs 94 crore through a malware attack in just a couple of days. These crimes are committed without causing any physical injury. Unfortunately, many of these crimes do not indicate the gravity of their commission because they have less visibility in public domain.”

The Technology Evangelist says the police employ both prevention and investigation to deal with these with primary focus on the earlier since only one in 100 gets caught. OTT platforms, YouTube, Twitter may be sources of entertainment because of the advantage proffered by High Speed Internet. The criminal mind, will, however, always find out ways to harass/abuse. Twenty years down the line, there will be more transformation with newer apps and possibly, the nature of frauds and scams would also be different. We have to be prepared to take these head on with our finger on the same technology.”

Referring to cyber attacks from foreign soils, Dr Rajput says they are mostly geospatial in nature. We have to understand the Safe Time continuum because a hacker or a trouble-maker is omnipresent. Cyber warfare mostly pertains to research work. In other cases, the Information Technology Act of 2008 and its provisions, especially Sections 67 and 68 are effective and exemplary. The old world is being revamped with newer protocols. For tracking criminals, there are other measures like having extradition treaties and keeping better international/diplomatic relations.”

The DCP points out that “Maharashtra records 4000-5000 cases of cyber crime annually, of which, a third happen in Mumbai alone being the country’s financial hub. We have instituted a regime where today over 600 police personnel — trained extensively in the last 20 years – have the expertise to investigate such crimes. On the flip side, people are regularly sensitized about is pitfalls.”

Inclined towards academics, Dr Rajput loves to dabble on philosophical Poetry, Writing and Research. He has authored a book “Cyber Economic Crime in India – An Integrated Model for Prevention and Investigation” which provides an overview of cyber economic crime in India, analyzing fifteen years of data and specific case studies from Mumbai to add to the limited research in cyber economic crime detection. A valuable resource for law enforcement and police working on the local, national, and global level in the detection and prevention of cybercrime, the volume is also of interest to researchers and practitioners working in financial crimes and white collar crime. Centering around an integrated victim-centered approach to investigating a global crime on the local level, the book examines the criminal justice system response to cyber economic crime and proposes new methods of detection and prevention. It considers the threat from a national security perspective, a cyber crime perspective, and as a technical threat to business and technology installations. Physical fitness is a given in the wake of his profession.

As cyber crimes sprout across not only the country but the length and breadth of world, officers like Dr Rajput emerge as beacons of hope in safeguarding people’s dignity, wealth and reputation. The task is enormous but then good officers never lower their guard, no matter the magnitude of the Law and Order situation.