The Assam Police have filed a case against a former woman employee after the data of Assam’s National Register of Citizens, published last August, disappeared from the official website in January, PTI reported on Thursday. Authorities had cited the non-renewal of a contract with Information Technology firm Wipro as the reason for the data’s disappearance.
NRC State Coordinator Hitesh Dev Sarma said the case against the former project manager was filed under the Official Secrets Act in Paltan Bazar police station in Guwahati. Sarma said the woman had resigned on November 11 last year but did not share the password of the two official email IDs –email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org. “She was a contractual employee and no longer authorised to hold the password, after quitting her job,” Sarma added.
He also said the NRC office wrote to her on several occasions for submitting the password, but did not get any response. “We must know if she has tampered with the sensitive information after resigning,” Sarma said. The NRC coordinator said people can hopefully access the data in the next two to three days.
The contract between the NRC office and Wipro ended in October 2019, but the firm provided the service for some more time for the data to be available online. A statement from Wipro said the information technology company continued to pay the hosting service fee as a “goodwill gesture” until January 2020 despite the contract having ended four months before. The firm added that it would be willing to provide the services again if the agreement is renewed.
Complaint against former NRC coordinator
Simultaneously, a complaint was also filed against civil servant Prateek Hajela for allegedly tampering with records. Hajela was the former coordinator of the NRC exercise.
Non-governmental organisation Assam Public Works, on whose petition the Supreme Court got involved in the process to update the National Register of Citizens in the state, filed the complaint. A member of Assam Public Works, Rajib Deka, accused Hajela of tampering with the final citizens’ list, violation of Supreme Court’s directives, forgery and cyber crime among others.
The organisation said several social networks and sections of the media had reported anomalies, and insisted that many “doubtful” persons were able to insert their names in the final list.
The Supreme Court had in October asked the Centre to transfer Hajela to Madhya Pradesh. Hajela, a 1995-batch Indian Administrative Service officer of the Assam-Meghalaya cadre, was involved in the task of updating the register since September 2013.
The final NRC had excluded 1.9 million people.