In view of rising cybercrime and frauds in the financial sector, the Maharashtra government has decided to establish an Economic Offences Wing (EOW) at the state level.
Major cities such as Mumbai and Pune already have their own EOWs, but there is no state-level wing to coordinate or monitor the probe of such offences at present.
“Considering the increasing population, urbanisation, growing volume of transactions through the Internet, manifold rise in frauds in the construction and other sectors of the economy” such a state-level agency was needed, said a government resolution (GR) issued on May 10.
It also said that a new post of Additional Director General of Police, who will head the EOW, will be created.
“The state EOW is likely to be set up soon, and its chief will be appointed by month-end as transfers of some senior IPS officers are awaited,” a senior police official told PTI, giving more details.
The Mumbai police’s EOW will continue to operate independently and will not come under the state EOW, he said.
Last year, 7,918 economic offences were registered in the state, involving a sum of Rs 12,703.19 crore. In 2016, 7,049 offences involving Rs 7,571.24 crore had been registered, as per the data provided by the state police headquarters.
Increase in digital/online transactions is contributing to the rise in economic offences in a big way, the official said.
Also, the probe of such offences often needs a coordination with the central agencies such as the Enforcement Directorate and Income Tax Department, and the creation of state EOW will make this easier, he said.