He is just 20 and studying in third year of Bachelors of Engineering (BE), computers at Faculty of Technology and Engineering, M S University (MSU). But, he spends most of his time at the police stations in the city. Whenever, the cops come across cyber crime cases, they simply dial up Bhaumik Merchant's number. And, Merchant does not disappoint them. He has helped police officials crack many cases ranging from e-mail hacking to online financial frauds.
The cops have also been able to trace accused and take action against them in some of the cases. Interestingly, despite claims of having its own cyber crime cell, the cops have to rely more on such experts. "I was working as an intern with the crime branch last year when I came in touch with the police. I started working on some cyber crime cases that were registered in the police stations and got associated with the cops," Merchant told TOI.
"While I get to solve tough cyber crime cases, working for public cause also gives me satisfaction," Merchant said.
Last year, the city police got a case wherein a girl's photographs were picked up from her Facebook (FB) profile and cropped by her ex-boyfriend. The accused pasted his and her photographs on a certificate to prove that they were married. He sent that certificate copy to her fiancÃ©e who broke the engagement. Merchant tracked the case and even helped her close her FB account.
In a case of financial fraud, a resident of Wadi area lost Rs 40,000 from his bank account after he submitted his credit card number and bank account number to a website that promised him a lottery amount of 4.50 lakh British pounds. Merchant tracked the transactions and found that while the email came from Nigeria, money was withdrawn from Delhi.
"We come across several cyber crime cases in the city and Merchant has been very helpful. He has helped us solve many cyber cases. It is very necessary to keep case details confidential during investigations and despite being so young, Merchant has been very co-operative," said Gotri police inspector Shankar Chaudhary.
A senior cop admitted that the police department does not have cyber experts who can work on such cases and that there is a need to train policemen in tracking online frauds.
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