The Cyberabad Police in Hyderabad said on Monday that IT Grids India Private Limited CEO D Ashok should surrender in connection with a data theft case, failing which he will be arrested. Hyderabad-based IT Grids is facing the allegation of misusing sensitive data of the people of Andhra Pradesh to help the ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP) further its prospects in the ensuing Assembly and Lok Sabha elections.
Cyberabad Police Commissioner V C Sajjanar said that the IT Grids Chief Executive Officer was the main accused in the case and since he failed to appear before the police despite being served a notice, he should surrender along with related material. The police chief said that four teams have been constituted to probe the case. He said the police would not spare the accused, no matter how powerful they were.
Addressing a press conference, Sajjanar said based on a complaint by one T Lokeswara Reddy, alleging misuse of personal information and sensitive data, a case was registered against IT Grids at the Madhapur police station on Saturday under sections 120B (Criminal conspiracy), 379 (Theft), 420 (Cheating) and 188 (Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and sections 72 and 66B of the Information Technology Act.
The police served notices on four employees of the company and in their presence conducted search and seizure at the firm's office in Madhapur on Saturday and Sunday. Several electronic gadgets, hard discs, cellphones, documents and other materials were seized.
Preliminary investigations revealed that IT Grids got access to personal information and sensitive data related to Aadhaar, electoral rolls and beneficiaries of government schemes. The company was using this data for 'Sevamitra', an application developed by it for the TDP.
"Through this application, they have constituency wise votersâ€™ data and affiliations of each voter party-wise, ie, TDP, YSRCP, Jana Sena and neutral. They also have an option to identify the preference of a voter for a particular party. The information is being used to create profiles of voters and use them for political purposes," the Commissioner said in a press note.
The police also suspect a link between the misuse of data and deletion of voters' names in Andhra Pradesh. Sajjanar said the police in the neighbouring state have registered 50 cases against people who have lodged online complaints seeking removal of names of eligible voters from the electoral rolls.
Sajannar said the police have issued a notice to Amazon Web Services for the production of a database relating to application and other data. "We are also writing to the UIDAI and the Election Commission for more details. The incriminating material is being sent for forensic analysis." he said.
The Police Commissioner also took strong exception to a team from the Andhra Pradesh police rushing to Hyderabad without permission and interfering in the investigation. He said a habeas corpus petition was filed in the Telangana High Court despite the fact that the four employees of IT Grids were with the Cyberabad Police as witnesses.
In a major claim, Sajannar also said that the Andhra Pradesh police team went to complainant Lokeswara Reddy's house and abused and threatened him. A case of criminal trespass and intimidation has been registered against the personnel of the Andhra Pradesh police at the Kukatpally police station.