Mumbai: Charkop MLA forgets e-mail password, cops register FIR
While they routinely ignore common citizens' serious complaints, Kandivli police rushed to register a case on MLA's trivial complaint
While the police are often accused of ignoring, and at times, delaying probe in cases of cyber crimes registered by ordinary citizens, they were quick on their feet in acting on an FIR filed by a Charkop MLA, who had only forgotten his e-mail password.
The BJP MLA, Yogesh Sagar, had filed an FIR at the Kandivli police station in February when he couldn't access his Yahoo email account. He was able to use it again just one and a half day later, but it took him around six months to inform the police, who were 'investigating' the case, about the same.
The MLA had lodged the FIR on February 17. He informed the Kandivli police he had received a phone call from an aide around 7.41 pm that day, who asked him to check an email he [the aide] had sent on Sagar's personal email ID. An hour later, Sagar tried to log into his personal Yahoo account, but couldn't get access to it.
'Prompt in filing FIR'
Sagar said, "I tried again, but the same message cropped up. When I clicked the 'forgot password' option, the last two digits of the mobile number displayed weren't from mine. Hence, I suspected it to be a case of hacking. The police were prompt in registering an FIR under sections 43 (A) and 66 of the Information Technology Act."
Cut to six months later, on July 31, the MLA wrote to the senior inspector of Kandivli police station, informing them that he was able to access his email account using the same password one and a half days later. He requested the police not to investigate the matter further.
Following that, the police moved a C summary report in the case two days ago before the 17th metropolitan magistrate court in Borivli. A lawyer who practices at the Borivli court said, "The court clerk representing the Kandivli police station moved the C summary report to the magistrate and the court directed the complainant to be present for the next hearing. The matter is likely to come up in the next few days."
Senior inspector of Kandivli police station, Nitin Pondkule, said, "It is a regular practice in cases of C summary matters to expect the complainant to be present with all relevant papers before the court." Pondkule, however, said he wasn't aware of the next court hearing.
Speaking to mid-day about the incident, Sagar said, "I'm not tech savvy, but I've been using my email account for addressing the problems faced by people from my constituency. Usually, I check my email on my phone, but that day, when it did not open, even after trying my password, I complained to the police, fearing that my email account might have been hacked and someone may misuse it for personal gains.
"At the police station, even the cops tried to log into the account but couldn't, after which they lodged the FIR. I don't know how the mail reopened with the same password almost two days later." On being asked why he waited for five months to write to the police, he said, "I don't know if my email had been hacked or if there was any technical problem from the service provider. But a few months later, when I was sure that my ID had not been misused, which even the police were monitoring, I submitted my letter on July 31, asking them to close their investigation."
Sagar said he wasn't aware about being called to court, "I've not received any court intimation. If I get, I will surely visit the court and stand before the magistrate."
But what does Sagar feel about the fact that police often don't register complaints of ordinary citizens, but they lodged an FIR in this case because it came from an MLA?
"It is a fact that police do not register complaints in genuine cases too. All I can say is, if people, especially those from my constituency, have any such problem, they can contact me directly and I'll see to it that their complaints, too, are taken seriously by the police."
'Condemn such instances'
senior criminal lawyer
'In most cases that are otherwise trivial in nature, the police are reluctant to file an FIR unless someone influential intervenes. Moreover, with each police station being directed to take cyber complaints, they [police] seldom take any initiative to even go through the complaint, and forget to lodge the FIR. We have numerous cases where even after [being told about] receiving threat emails, or being bullied online, or being sent derogatory contents, the police have done nothing'
senior criminal lawyer
'In the present case, it appears that an MLA was to be obliged to abuse the process of law. Instances like these should be condemned if there is a motive behind taking cognisance of such cases. If it is found at a later stage that the complaint was not taken up on the basis of merit, but for certain extra legal consideration, the police officer who has obliged the complainant should have to explain his role'
'This is misuse of power by the MLA, who should have confirmed through ethical hackers if his account had really been hacked, before registering the FIR'.
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