The Uttar Pradesh Police’s Special Task Force on Sunday announced the arrest of 10 people who they said had illegally made Aadhaar cards after procuring the finger impressions of operators of UIDAI centres.
The STF arrested Saurabh Singh, Satendra Kumar, Shubham Singh, Shobhit Sachan, all residents of Kanpur, Shivam Kumar, Manoj Kumar, residents of Fatehpur district, Tulsiram of Mainpuri district, Kuldeep Singh of Pratapgarh, Chaman Gupta of Hardoi, and Guddu Gond of Azamgarh.
According to the STF, Saurabh is the kingpin of the group.
Sources in the STF said the arrested accused had told the police they used to take fingerprints of authorised operators of the UIDAI centres through a biometric device and then print them on butter paper using a laser printer. Then, they heated the paper after using photopolymer resin to prepare cloned fingerprints which they used to login to Aadhar website. Authorised UIDAI operators have to use their fingerprints to access the portal.
According to the STF, the UIDAI changed the login process for operators and made an iris recognition mandatory along with fingerprints, but the gang managed to create new client applications to bypass the iris recognition process.
The STF said these hackers sold the new client applications at Rs 5,000 each to some unauthorised operators.
The police task force said in a statement that the investigation was started after registration of an FIR on the basis of a complaint from the Unique Identification Authority of India deputy director who alleged preparation of Aadhaar cards by “unauthorised people” in various cities of the state by using tampered client applications to “misuse and bypass the operators’ mandatory certified login ID”.
The STF claimed to have found 11 laptops, 38 cloned fingerprints on paper, 46 cloned fingerprints made of a chemical, 12 mobile phones, two Aadhaar finger scanners, two retina scanners, eight rubber stamps, 18 Aadhaar cards and other material during their searches.
The 10 have been booked under IPC sections related to cheating and forgery and the relevant sections of the Information Technology Act and the Aadhaar Act, 2016.
The force said they reached to the racket’s mastermind Saurabh Singh after verifying intelligence inputs and arrested the 10 accused persons.