NEW DELHI: A Delhi judge has ordered police to investigate Google authorities for criminal conspiracy in a cyber-fraud case, observing that citizens have been rendered vulnerable by the “insouciant indifference of the Google authorities,” after the police argued that Google was a “partner in crime” for allegedly receiving Rs 30 lakh from cybercriminals to feature their fake website on its top searches.
Additional Session Judge Dharmender Rana directed the DCP Cyber Cell to look into the participation of Google officials in the conspiracy and abetment.
The ruling was issued by the judge while rejecting the bail applications of two individuals suspected of being part of a cyber fraud ring that created bogus websites to target persons attempting to file cyber fraud complaints.
“Google search has become an integral part of one’s everyday life,” ASJ Rana stated, adding, “If you are not paying for the product, you are the product.” Citizens have been rendered vulnerable and exposed as a result of Google’s arrogant indifference.”
The judge stated that while he was aware of his restricted role during bail hearings, he was also “aware of the onerous task of monitoring the investigations and the sacrosanct duty of all public institutions owed to their masters, the common population of the country.”
The Special Cell of the Delhi Police is investigating the case, and a FIR was filed on October 21 under IPC sections 419 (punishment for defrauding by personation), 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing handover of property), and 120B IPC (punishment of criminal conspiracy).
The complainant is an advisor who was tricked for Rs 62,500 by a phoney website when he attempted to purchase a mobile phone. He then attempted to file a complaint and discovered a website called ‘Jan Suraksha Kendra.’ The complainant paid Rs 2,800 to agents on this website, believing they would assist in the investigation of his cyber complaint. However, they quickly disabled his phone number.
Omendra Shrivastav and Sourabh Pandey, who worked as telecallers in the alleged scam, were denied bail by state prosecutor Irfan Ahmed. They allegedly stole anywhere between Rs 500 and Rs 30,000 as a’registration fee.’
According to ASJ Rana, cases of cybercrime involving phoney and fraudulent websites have reached “alarming proportions,” and lakhs of “gullible citizens are duped with impunity” every day.
The court stated that it is terrible that such bogus websites appear at the top of search results when an innocent citizen searches online. “It appears that the police are not taking any tangible action against the platforms that assist the conduct of such offences,” the court stated.
“Google is in reality compensating its clients to reflect their websites on the top of Google search,” Ahmad told the court. In the current instance, Google received Rs 30 lakh from the accused, which is how the accused’s website appeared at the top of Google searches… Google, by purposefully assisting the primary criminals, is in fact a partner in crime, and their conduct must be probed.”
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