The Cyberabad police (under which the IT corridor of Hyderabad falls) on Monday said that IT Grids India Pvt Ltd, the IT company which runs the ‘Seva Mitra’ app for the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and which has been booked for data theft, has managed to get access to personal information and “sensitive data" of individuals relating to Aadhaar, the electoral roll, government schemes, and voter’s information related to various political parties.
The police also claimed that through the app, the IT company has constituency-wise voter data, including the preference or political inclinations of voters, and also has access to government data using which it has profiled voters for various political purposes. “Prima facie, the investigation has revealed that a private company called IT Grids India Pvt. Ltd. has got illegal access of various personal and sensitive data of individuals which can be misused for illegal purposes," said V. C. Sajjanar, Cyberabad police commissioner, at a press conference on Monday.
Sajjanar stated that the database is said to have been stored with Amazon Web Services, and that the police have issued a notice to Amazon Web Services for production of the database relating to application and other data. “We are also writing to UIDAI (Unique Identification Authority of India) and Election Commission for more details," he added.
Last week, the Cyberabad police had detained four persons for questioning with regard to the case, and had registered a case against IT Grids for the alleged data theft through the ‘Seva Mitra’ app. Searches were conducted at the company’s office at Madhapur on 2 and 3 March, following which four employees, Regonda Bhasker, K. Phani Kumar, R. Vikram Goud and G. Chandra Shaker, were detained for questioning.
The police also seized seized laptops and other electronic items as part of the raids. The case was registered against the IT company based on the complaint by one Lokeswara Reddy, which alleged the ruling TDP is linked to the main opposition YSR Congress Party in Andhra Pradesh.
While the TDP has claimed that the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) is acting at the behest of YSR Congress Party to influence the upcoming assembly (and Lok Sabha) elections in AP, TRS working president K. T. Rama Rao (KTR) on Monday refuted the allegation and said the case was registered in Hyderabad as the IT company is located in the city.
A senior TDP leader who did not wish to be named, however, said the matter and all the data in question pertains to AP, and that the Telangana police has no jurisdiction there. On Sunday, AB Venkateswara Rao, additional director general of police (intelligence), told Mint that the AP police will not ask for the case to be transferred. “They (Telangana police) know the law," he said.
The TDP leader also said that data is collected by the party’s booth-level committees on their own. “Our party has 3,000-plus booth area coordinators, and 47,000-odd booth-level conveners. We are not hiding this, and this is something we have been doing from the last four months. The Telangana police has nothing to do with what happens in AP. KTR is not even a minister, so who is he to comment?" he said.