Digital evidence to be handled with care by IO – Praveen Sood

Pramesh S Jain.Yogesh Porwar

In an effort to improve the overall efficiency and improve prosecution rates in cyber crime cases, the State Police chief, Praveen Sood on Saturday issued a circular directing the investigating officers (IO) to take extreme care while handling digital evidence.

This is to ensure integrity and authenticity while taking the cases to their logical end,

According to the State Police chief,Mr.Praveen Sood,Instead of relying on private players,Mr. Sood asked the IOs to use the support and guidance of staff from Cybercrime,Economic Offence and Narcotics (CEN),Station or the staff of Cyber Forensic units of CID, or the State Forensic Science Lab for the professional touch and care.

While releasing a set of standard operation procedures (SOPs)and guidelines,Mr.Sood stated that the purpose is to provide police and prosecution systematic guidance to help them understand the technical and legal issues that may arise while handling electronic evidence at the crime scene investigations.

Investigation of any criminal case involves identification,collection and preservation of evidence to support the theory taken by the IO.

However,in the wake of significant rise in gathering electronic evidence including desktops, laptops,mobile phones,handheld devices and DVRs and CDRs,the IOs have to exercise special care while handling procedural,technical and digital aspects,the circular added.

Admissibility of digital evidence in the court heavily depends upon how it was handled and taken into possession,Mr.Sood reiterated.

According to a senior officer, there are two important factors while visiting any cyber crime scene. This includes quick recovery of evidence for preservation, and secondly containing the area to gather more details.

Quick recovery is important as the evidence is volatile and fragile.Mishandling the evidence leads to destruction of evidence permanently and losing the case eventually.

As per statistics,the conviction rate in cyber crime cases in the state are low, and a leading cause for dismissal of cases is the way the evidence is handled he said in his circular.