On inputs from FBI and Interpol, CBI, police forces search 105 locations to combat cyber crime

Based on inputs from US’s Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Interpol, the CBI along with the state police forces Tuesday conducted searches at 105 places across the country against “cyber-enabled financial crimes”.

Nicknamed Operation Chakra, the searches involved CBI and forces of six states and union territories. The searches were carried out in Andaman and Nicobar (searches at four locations), Delhi (five locations), Chandigarh (three locations), and two locations each in Punjab, Karnataka and Assam.

Sources said of all the locations, CBI alone has mounted searches at around 80 locations spread across 13 states. Sources said inputs for the searches were also received from Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

“From one location in Rajasthan, the agency has recovered Rs 1.5 crore in cash and 1.5 kg gold. The person involved was running a call centre illegally. Two such call centres have also been busted in Ahmedabad and Pune. They were involved in call centre fraud in the US. The FBI has been informed and they are taking follow up action,” a CBI official said.

Sources said the agency has also recovered huge digital evidence which include details of financial transactions and cybercrime activity on dark web. They said one person of interest has also been identified in Punjab in this connection.

“This operation is being coordinated by the Cyber Crime division of the CBI. These global operations are being galvanised by the recently created international operations division called Cyber Crime Investigation Division of the agency,” a CBI official said.

The searches are a part of a series of actions that the CBI is spearheading ahead of the Interpol conference to be held in Delhi beginning October 18.

On September 29, in a nationwide crackdown on drug trafficking, central agencies along with state police and the Interpol had arrested 175 persons and seized 45 kg of various drugs.

The searches were conducted by CBI, Narcotics Control Bureau and state police forces of Punjab, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Manipur and Maharashtra where 6,600 persons were searched, 127 new cases registered and 175 persons, including six absconding accused, were arrested. Carried under the name of “Operation Garuda”, the CBI claimed the crackdown was done in coordination with the Interpol.

According to CBI, during the searches, illicit drugs, including 5.125 kg (approx) heroin; 33.936 kg (approx) ganja; 3.29 kg (approx) charas; 1,365 gm (approx) mephedrone; 33.80 gm (approx) smack; around 87 tablets, 122 injections and 87 syringes of Buprenorphine; 946 tablets (approx) Alprazolam; 105.997 kg (approx) tramadol; 10 gm (approx) hash oil; 0.9 gm (approx) ecstasy pills; 1.15 kg (approx) opium; 30 kg (approx) poppy husk; 1.437 kg (approx) intoxicant powder and 11,039 (approx) pills/capsules, were recovered.

“The Central Bureau of Investigation has launched a multi-phase ‘Operation Garuda’ which seeks to disrupt, degrade and dismantle drug networks with international linkages through rapid exchange of criminal intelligence on drug trafficking and coordinated law enforcement actions across international jurisdiction through Interpol. This global operation was initiated in close coordination with Interpol and Narcotics Control Bureau, for combating smuggling of illicit drugs and psychotropic substances, with special focus on the Indian Ocean Region. Drug trafficking networks with international linkages require law enforcement cooperation across international jurisdiction,” the CBI said in a statement.

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