The probe into alleged misuse of data for voter profiling in Andhra Pradesh by an IT firm has found that the company got information and sensitive data of people related to Aadhaar, electoral rolls, government scheme beneficiaries, and voter’s information, according to Cyberabad Police, which is investigating the case.
The Hyderabad-based firm, IT Grids India Pvt Ltd, was hired by the ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP) in Andhra Pradesh to develop an app for use in the forthcoming elections – the state is bound for Assembly polls as well this summer.
The police suspect IT Grids either stole the database or was provided the data by a Visakhapatnam-based IT company that works for AP government.
The issue has sparked a war of words between political parties in AP and Telangana. While TDP has alleged that Telangana Police is harassing IT Grids, which is developing apps for the party, and accused ruling TRS in Telangana of helping YSR Congress, TDP’s main opposition in AP, YSR Congress leaders have lodged a complaint against AP Police officials who came to question Lokeshwara Reddy, a data analyst whose complaint led Cyberabad Police to file a case on March 2.
On Monday, Cyberabad Police Commissioner V C Sajjanar said, “IT Grids India also runs the ‘Sevamitra’ app application of TDP. Through this, they have constituency-wise voter data and voters’ party-wise affiliation. They have an option to identify preference of a voter for a particular party.”
He said the app has details such as voter ID, caste and addresses.
Officials said they conducted raids at offices of IT Grids on March 3 and 4 and seized electronic gadgets, computer hard discs, mobile phones and written documents, among others.
Sajjanar said, “We have learnt that 45-50 cases have been registered in various places of AP about deletion of voters by police on the Election Commission of India’s (EC) direction. We have issued a notice to Amazon Web Services for production of database relating to application and other data (the database is said to have been stored with Amazon Web Services, a subsidiary of the US-headquartered Amazon). We are also writing to UIDAI and EC for more details.”
AP Chief Electoral Officer Krishna Dwivedi said he received complaints that anonymous applications to delete some voters’ names were being sent to election officials. “I have asked district collectors (concerned) to register complaints, if this is true. Voters’ names cannot be deleted without verification by election officials, but we will look into these complaints,’’ Dwivedi said.