Amrish Tyagi, owner of Ovleno Business Intelligence (OBI), which on it’s now-suspended website had claimed that it was a partner of UK-based SCL Group, said in a statement Thursday that OBI never worked for JD(U). SCL is the parent company of Cambridge Analytica, the international data analytics firm at centre of the data leak storm.
“The political parties namely BJP, Congress never signed any digital project with us nor assigned any work during any elections so there is no point of any type of Facebook or any other social media data breach. Also as claimed by CA website for 2010 Bihar elections OBI or SCL UK/Cambridge analytica never worked with JD(U) for any assignment,” said Tyagi, son of JD(U) leader K C Tyagi.
Tyagi told The Indian Express on March 20 that OBI managed booth profiling in 2012 UP poll for BJP. For Congress, he said, OBI did ground surveys for Youth Congress elections in Jharkhand in 2011 and 2012. And for JD(U), Tyagi said OBI conducted ground research in 2010.
India-related documents shared by SCL’s former-employee-turned-whistleblower Christopher Wylie Wednesday mentioned JD(U) as client. “SCL India was asked to provide electoral research and strategy for the 2010 state elections for the JD(U). SCL undertook a behavioural research programme targeting over 75 per cent of households to assist the client in not only identifying the correct battlegrounds, but also the right audiences, messages and most importantly, the right castes to target,” a document said.
Another document gave address of SCL’s head office in India as: “155, Niti Khand 1, Indirapuram, Ghaziabad”. The same address was listed as OBI’s address on its website before it was taken down.
In fact, Tyagi is a director in another Ghaziabad-based company Strategic Communication Private Limited, which also has Alexander Nix, former Chief Executive of Cambridge Analytica, as director. Nix had been recorded by undercover journalists of Channel 4 News last week revealing how Cambridge Analytica used bribery and honey-traps against clients’ rivals.
“We would like to make it clear that when this company was registered there were absolutely no allegations against anyone of the directors of this company. However we are seeking legal opinions to removal of my name from SCL.” Tyagi said. He offered to be part of any probe.
A 2017 documentary has raised further doubts about Cambridge Analytica’s relationship with Congress. BBC documentary Secrets of Silicon Valley showed writer Jamie Bartlett visiting Nix’s office, and a framed picture with Congress’s name and poll symbol can be seen on the wall. Bartlett, sharing a screenshot from the documentary, tweeted Wednesday, “This is causing a stir in India. However, I did not ask Nix about Cambridge Analytica’s relationship with the National Congress Party, so I cannot comment helpfully on that I’m afraid.” Bartless wrongly called Congress National Congress Party.
Divya Spandana, head of digital communications for Congress, did not respond to calls and a text message seeking comments.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines