A 31-year-old victim of cyber-crime has alleged that the local police in Ernakulam district refused to register her complaint many times, delaying the process of filing an FIR in her case for three months.
The Piravom police has launched a probe against singer Naveen J Anthrapet for allegedly posting morphed nude photographs of a woman and derogatory comments about her on Facebook.
The accused in the case is a relative of the complainant. In April, he had allegedly posted the victim’s morphed nude image on her business page on Facebook using a fake account. A case has been filed under section 67 A of the Information and Technology Act 2000.
Investigators, on Monday, seized two modems from a shop in Kalamassery in Ernakulam district from where the images were posted, and sent them for forensic examination, said the police.
However, the 31-year-old complainant alleges that the Piravom police had refused to register the case when she first tried to complain in April this year. When she first approached the police, the woman said, she was told there was insufficient evidence to register a case against the accused.
“However, when a few days later I persisted, they asked Naveen to report to the police station. He denied the allegations and the police left it at that,” she told The News Minute. The woman then filed a complaint with the cyber cell, who recovered the IP address of the computer from which the photos were uploaded, and duly sent it across to the local police station.
“The cyber cell officer informed me nearly three months later that the local police can now file a case based on its report. But Piravom police denied any knowledge of the report,” said the woman. The woman alleges that the local police have consistently been delaying the probe. She believes that the police did not take the case seriously dismissing it as a family feud. The complainant also alleged that Naveen had posted derogatory material against her family members on Facebook in the past as well, after which, her sister (who lives in the US) informed the local police.
He had then apologized and the matter was dropped without filing of formal charges.
“Bringing the matter to the police’s attention is our job, not to furnish evidence of the act. This is in spite of us submitting all screenshots of the comments. They have been consistently giving me wrong information. Initially they told me that the accused can be arrested based on the cyber cell report. However, later they informed me that the arrest can be made only after receiving the forensic lab report,” she said.
Circle Inspector PK Sivankutty told TNM that the materials seized from the shop have been sent for forensic examination. “We have recorded statements of the shop owner and staff, who confirmed that Naveen is a regular visitor. But we cannot take action without receiving the forensic reports,” he said. The officer cited procedural delays for the delay in arresting Naveen, despite the cyber cell report and the shop owner's statement. "No doubt this is a non-bailable case, but we cannot arrest the accused merely based on a complaint. Retrieving the IP address and recording statements that point to his involvement does not guarantee that he would be immediately arrested. Though situational evidence indicates his involvement, we cannot arrest him at this stage in the investigation," he said.