Telangana govt transfers Aadhaar data leak case to SIT

The data was allegedly being used for the TDP’s Seva Mitra. (Picture for Representational Purpose )

The Telangana government on Tuesday transferred the Aadhaar data leak case filed by UIDAI with Cyberabad Police to a special investigation team (SIT). The UIDAI had filed a case against IT Grids (India) Private Limited – a Hyderabad-based software firm which had developed and manages the Telugu Desam Party’s Seva Mitra mobile app – accusing it of illegally procuring details of 7,82,21,397 Aadhaar holders in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana and storing the details in the company’s databases.

The UIDAI filed the complaint after the Telangana State Forensic Science Laboratory retrieved data stored in the servers of IT Grids, which showed that the details of the Aadhaar holders were an exact copy and had been stored in the same format like in UIDAI. The data was allegedly being used for the TDP’s Seva Mitra.

"The database found in possession of IT Grids is surprisingly similar to that is owned by UIDAI and it originally belongs to us. The presence of Aadhaar numbers raises doubts that the data may have been stolen from either Central Identities Data Repository or State Repository Data Hubs. We have lodged a complaint at Madhapur Police Station against the firm," UIDAI Deputy Director T Bhavani Prasad said.

A typical entry in the database contained UID number, mobile number, name of the citizen, name of father, husband or guardian, date of birth, village, mandal and district, along with pin code.

The case has been registered under sections of the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016.

After lodging the police complaint, UIDAI has also requested governments of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh to stop uploading property registration documents on the websites of their Revenue Departments as they contain Aadhaar details which may be misused by miscreants.

On February 23, Cyberabad Police raided the premises of IT Grids based on a complaint by data analyst T Lokeshwara Reddy, alleging that the firm had stolen the database of beneficiaries of the TDP government’s welfare schemes and was allegedly using it for voter profiling.

After the raids and seizure of data, the Telangana government formed an SIT headed by Inspector General of Police Stephen Raveendra to investigate the case. An SIT official said that it was suspected that IT Grids had stolen the data from a Visakhapatnam-based IT company which was hired by the Andhra government to help it streamline beneficiaries and deliver the benefits. "It could also have been stolen from CIDR or SRDH also," the official said.

Raveendra said the database seized from IT Grids also included data of those from Telangana, and Seva Mitra was using it to reach out to voters in Telangana as well.

The SIT has also written to Amazon and Google to seek more information about data stores with their cloud platforms.