Surrender or face arrest, Cyberabad police to IT Grids CEO

Hyderabad, March 4 (IANS) The Cyberabad Police said here 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 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 notice, he should surrender along with the materials.

The police chief said 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 20B, 379, 420 and 188 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and sections 72 and 66B of the IT 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.

"The information is being used to create profiles of voters and use them for political purposes," he said.

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," 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.

Sajannar said the Andhra Pradesh police team also went to complainant Lokeswara Reddy's house and abused and threatened him. A case of criminal trespass and intimidation has been registered against the Andhra Pradesh cops at the Kukatpally police station.

--IANS

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