Sprinklr deal: Rules flouted while signing contract, finds inquiry committee

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The two-member committee appointed by the Kerala government to inquire about alleged discrepancies in signing contract in the controversial Sprinklr data deal, has found that rules were flouted while this was done.

The committee, consisting of former Civil Aviation secretary Madhavan Nambiar and cyber expert Gulshan Roy, submitted the report to the state Chief Secretary on Wednesday. The report said there was no clearance from the Law department and no senior official was taken into confidence before signing up with Sprinklr.

The US-based company Sprinklr had entered into a contract with the Kerala government to use its software to analyse the data regarding the people under observation for COVID-19. This had led to a huge political outcry as the Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala came out alleging serious data breach. After the issue was taken to Kerala High Court and it refused to stay the transfer of the data to Sprinklr, the state government formed the committee.

The two-member committee has also come out with fresh guidelines on the way things should be done in any future agreement. Meanwhile, the committee has also said that the data which has already been handed over to Sprinklr pertained to the basic health aspects and there was no need to raise an outcry. According to reports, the committee has also stated that there has been no breach in the aspect of data sharing and data protection.

Read: Explained: Allegations against Kerala govt on privacy breach of COVID-19 patients

The committee was initially constituted with Rajeev Sadanadan IAS (retired), former Additional Chief Secretary (Health & Family Welfare Government of Kerala) as one of its members, but was reportedly changed and cyber expert Gulshan Roy was brought in.

The now suspended IAS officer M Sivasankar, was at the centre of the Sprinklr controversy. When the allegations surfaced, Sivasankar, who was the then Secretary of the IT Department, had come out owning responsibility. He had said that he took the decision pertaining to Sprinklr deal in his professional capacity and that there was no need for consulting the Law department. But the committee has found this to be in violation of due procedure.

Sivasankar was suspended from service after his alleged links with gold smuggling accused persons surfaced.

Meanwhile, talking to media, Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala, who first aired the allegation, said that the Opposition's allegations have turned out to be true. "Each and every aspect of the agreement that we pointed out has been upheld. We protested because we knew it was not done in the proper way," said Chennithala.

Read: Reading the judgment: What the Kerala HC said on the Sprinklr controversy

(With inputs from IANS)

Watch video: Sivasankar on Sprinklr deal