The Telangana police on Thursday claimed that it has found data related to the state in its investigation into the alleged data theft by IT Grids India Pvt Ltd, the software company which created the 'Sevamitra' app for the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) to collect voter data on the polling-booth level.
Stephen Ravindra, inspector general of police (Hyderabad Range), who is heading the special investigation team (SIT) formed by the state government a day earlier to investigate the alleged data theft by IT Grids, however did not specify as to what information from Telangana is with the software company.
In a parallel development, the Thulluru police in Guntur district of AP also registered a case, based on a complaint by AP minister Kimidi Kala Venkat Rao (and TDP AP unit president), against unidentified officials of the Telangana police and leaders of the main opposition YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) for conspiring against his party. The AP government on Thursday, alleging that the Telangana government and the YSRCP were conspiring against the TDP, constituted its own SIT headed by additional director general of police N. Bala Subramanyam.
“Ashok (the CEO of IT Grids) is currently absconding. We will find him whether he is in Amaravati or US. It is only day one of the SIT being formed, so we will come back with more information as the investigation goes further. The police has also given a notice to both Amazon Web Services and Google, but both companies are yet to respond. The correspondence has already begun," Ravindra said, while addressing a press conference on Thursday evening.
On the same day AP chief minister and TDP supremo N. Chandrababu Naidu also lashed out against the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) and the YSRCP, and even went on to state that the TRS government (in Telanagna) and the Bharatiya Janata Party-led centre are “acting like economic terrorists to destabilize the AP government". Naidu questioned the motive behind the case registered by the Telangana police and stated that TRS is trying to steal data of the TDP to pass it on to the YSRCP.
The tech giants were issued notices as IT Grids India Pvt Ltd has stored its information on their cloud. The case was earlier being looked into by the Cyberabad police (under which the IT corridor of Hyderabad comes), based on a complaint by one Lokeswar Reddy, who lodged a complaint with the police last week. It led to the Cyberabad cops detaining four employees of the IT company for questioning and a stand-off with the AP police which landed in Hyderabad looking for them, as the management of IT Grids had lodged a missing complaint when the four employees could not be traced.
Ever since the issue came to fore, the TDP has been questioning as to how the Telangana police can have jurisdiction over the matter, given that it pertains to voters in AP. However, Ravindra's claim that the app contains data from Telangana has now brought a new angle into the issue. On Thursday, the YSRCP also alleged that the TDP committed cyber crime by allowing IT Grids to link its data with that of the state government.
The YSRCP also alleged that Naidu has been collecting data from house-to-house in AP and which was linked with the data of IT Grids.