ATS ASKS STATE FOR 1-3 YEARS IN PRISON FOR HOAX CALL­ERS

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - HINDUSTAN TIMES - Sagar Ra­jput sagar.ra­jput@hin­dus­tan­times.com

MUM­BAI: Prank call­ing the po­lice could lead to jail time of up to three years, with the anti-ter­ror­ism squad ask­ing the Maharashtra govern­ment for a strict law against hoax call­ers.

The ATS’ move comes af­ter a spike in the num­ber of hoax calls since the Is­lamic State (IS) started tar­get­ing youth from the state. In its let­ter to the govern­ment, the ATS said hoax-call cases went up to 574 in 2015, com­pared to a lit­tle more than 100 in 2014.

“Ear­lier, around 100 to 200 cases of hoax calls would be reg­is­tered a year. But, in the past few years, there has been a dras­tic rise . There have been cases where peo­ple make hoax calls about bombs on trains if they are about to miss one. There have even been cases where the caller claims some­one is car­ry­ing ex­plo­sives, in a bid to take re­venge on that per­son,” said an ATS of­fi­cer, not wish­ing to be named.

Cur­rently, sec­tion 506 of the IPC (pun­ish­ment for crim­i­nal in­tim­i­da­tion) is used against those mak­ing hoax calls, but this is not a cog­nis­able of­fence, of­fi­cers said.

To make it cog­nis­able, other sec­tions of the IPC and IT acts are im­posed. “Hoax call­ers never use their orig­i­nal names, so when they are caught, we ap­ply sec­tions of im­per­son­ation, and some other sec­tions de­pend­ing on the na­ture of the call , so that we have a cog­nis­able case and can ar­rest the ac­cused . Even af­ter ar­rest­ing them, they are bailed out in a week ,” said an of­fi­cer.

CON­TIN­UED ON P9

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