Cyberterrorism Case | NIA needs additional infra and domain specialists, experts say


Collecting evidence in the field all together requires a different skill set, they say

The National Investigation Agency (NIA), which was given the mandate to deal with cyberterrorism cases over two years ago, should be provided with additional infrastructure and domain experts to investigate more effectively. on these offenses, according to experts.

“Although there are several designated laboratories for forensic analysis of evidence, experts in the field equipped with all the necessary state-of-the-art tools should be involved from the start of the investigation. Collecting evidence in the area of ​​cybercrime requires a different set of skills, ”one official said.

Team investigation concept

Navneet Rajan Wasan, former director general of the Bureau of Police Research and Development who also headed the NIA, insisted on the concept of team investigation, which is prevalent in many countries. Referring to the ransomware attack on a pipeline network in the United States in May, he said such crimes were investigated there by teams made up of police officers and experts in the respective fields.

“However, there is no enabling provision in the Indian legal system that allows an expert in the field to formally be part of the evidence-gathering team. In the absence of such a provision, the prosecution is liable to be charged with falsifying evidence in the event that an expert in the field is implicated by an agency, since the Code of Criminal Procedure only authorizes the police to collect evidence.

Mr Wasan said experts in the field were also essential for effective management of the tools deployed to investigate such breaches. During the UPA regime, investigative agencies had sent out proposals for the hiring of experts and for adequate training of the workforce from time to time. A proposal was also made for the creation of an institute of excellence for experts.

Since a cross-border investigation has often become necessary in cybercrime cases, Mr Wasan said the system of joint investigation, by investigators from India and the countries concerned, should also be adopted.

mutual legal assistance

A detailed proposal as well as a draft law had already been sent to the UPA government at the time for legislation on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters, in order to allow the rapid collection of evidence abroad. . However, another official said, it had yet to see the light of day.

The NIA was empowered to investigate cyberterrorism cases under the National Investigation Agency (Amendment) Act, which was passed by Parliament in July 2019. The law included Article 66-F of the Information Technology Act in the Annex to the NIA Act, which concerns cyberterrorism and provides for penalties of up to life imprisonment.

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