The Telugu Desam Party on Monday demanded that a case relating to the alleged theft of data of the Andhra Pradesh government be shifted to the state from Telangana according to provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code, PTI reported.
A Hyderabad-based company, which provides IT services to the Telugu Desam Party, got “illegal” access to details of voters in Andhra Pradesh, the police said. A data analyst on Saturday had lodged a case against the firm, claiming that Telugu Desam Party cadre were using specific mobile phone and tab-based applications to “advance their party’s electoral prospects”.
According to the police complaint, officials of IT Grids stole the data of about 3.5 crore people of the state, IANS reported. These citizens are beneficiaries of various government welfare schemes.
The alleged theft happened in Andhra Pradesh, so the case should be transferred to the state, Telugu Desam Party said.
The Telangana High Court had asked the Telangana police to produce four employees of the company before it on Monday. The complainant is allegedly a sympathiser of Andhra Pradesh’s main opposition party YSR Congress, which has accused the ruling party of deleting names of “anti-TDP” voters from voters’ list.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu alleged that the complaint was part of a “cyber conspiracy” to help the YSR Congress party led by Jaganmohan Reddy. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao were also helping Reddy, Naidu alleged. “It is atrocious to steal our data and give it to our rivals,” he said.
Telugu Desam Party politburo member Somireddy Chandramohan Reddy and general secretary Varla Ramaiah criticised Cyberabad Police Commissioner VC Sajjanar for disclosing details about the probe and claimed Telangana has no jurisdiction over the case. “Even the Telangana High Court pointed out this,” they said.
The two leaders said the data stored by the company was not confidential as “everything is available in the public domain”. “Details of beneficiaries of government schemes, the voters’ list... everything is available online,” they said. “So where is the question of stealing the data?”
Naidu claimed that the data was the party’s property as the TDP had spent more than two decades to collect it. “This data was not compiled in a day. It is a product of 24 years of our hard work,” he said. “No government has the right to steal it.”
However, the YSR Congress asked how confidential data related to the state government landed in private hands. “Why is Chandrababu so scared of the investigation? The data theft is part of a plan to remove names of those against the government from the electors list,” said YSRC leader and Public Accounts Committee Chairman Buggana Rajendranath Reddy. “The TDP leaders are selling critical government data to private parties.”
According to the police, the company got “illegal” access to personal and sensitive information of individuals related to Aadhaar and government schemes among others. Sajjanar said the “stolen information” can be misused for illegal purposes, adding that the police will write to the Unique Identification Authority of India, Election Commission of India, Registrar of Companies, and the Andhra Pradesh government seeking details.
“It is reliably learnt that about 45 to 50 criminal cases have been registered in various places of Andhra Pradesh about deletion of voters,” Sajjanar added.