Author and self-proclaimed ethical hacker Ankit Fadia on Monday, claimed to be selected as one of the brand ambassadors to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 'Digital India' initiative.
In a Facebook post on his official page, Fadia posted a few pictures, including a certificate, which said it was appointing him as an ambassador for one year to "propogate the products and applications being launched under the programme."
"Humbled and honored to be appointed as one of the Brand Ambassadors to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Digital India initiative," he wrote in his post.
Read Ankit Fadia's interview to TNM, he says certificate is real.
However, there has been no official announcement from the government on this.
Reports had earlier suggested that the government would announce young techie achievers as brand ambassadors for its campaign, rather than celebrities.
"By announcing names of young achievers, the government wants to send out a message to the world that India is â€˜seriousâ€™ about digitisation and has some young entrepreneurs who started from scratch and are making billions today," Business Line had quoted a source as saying.
The Prime Minister had also handpicked Kruti Tiwari, an IIT-JEE topper from Indore to be associated with the campaign.
While many have supported Fadia on his appointment, he is no stranger to controversy. The ethical hacker turned author, has been blamed for extensive plagiarism.
A Forbes report titled 'Ankit Fadia Revealed' has accused the self-proclaimed hacker of falsely building a brand image and narrates how their discussion frequently came to an impasse after neither party could prove or disprove the allegations against Fadia.
The report also counters Fadia's claims of shooting to fame after hacking the website of CHIP when he was 13, as the writer of the Forbes report used to be the editor of the magazine himself.
The Sunday Guardian in a report titled 'Ethical hacker Ankit Fadia is a fake' also spoke to people who have claimed that the author was a 'fraud.'
A security professional told the newspaper that "The first book that Fadia 'wrote' at the age of 14, The Unofficial Guide to Ethical Hacking, was a little over 32% plagiarized from other security publications and websites."
The security professional also says that Fadia's claims that his website on hacking was ranked the second best in the world by the FBI was untrue, as the investigative agency had no such system of ranking.
Another blogger told the newspaper "The masses see computer security as some sort of dark magic whereas it is a systematic process, a science. Hence, these people can be easily fooled by the likes of Fadia. The other aspect is obviously shoddy journalism. Papers print whatever catches the readers' attention. A child prodigy in computers does just that and our 'idol crazy' nation laps it up."
Several blogs and forums have also made similar claims against Fadia.
Humbled and honored to be appointed as one of the Brand Ambassadors to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Digital India initiative :)Posted by Ankit Fadia Official Page on Sunday, September 27, 2015
Many people have also openly criticized the move on social networking sites like Twitter.
Ankit Fadia is the brand ambassador of Digital India. *laughs frantically* *dies*â€” Bibhas Debnath (@bibhasdn) September 28, 2015
Ankit Fadia is the proof that, good PR is more important than good work.â€” Angel of Verdun (@AaruC) September 28, 2015
Honestly though- I have a feeling that Ankit Fadia is a unicornâ€” Aditi Mittal #TTWLMS (@awryaditi) September 28, 2015
I dunno about what you guys think, but ankit fadia would have made a great brand ambassador for http://t.co/8L387KEbBi. #ifyouknowwhatimeanâ€” Nikhil Pahwa (@nixxin) September 28, 2015