Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu. Photo: AFP
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu. Photo: AFP

Case against IT firm for misusing voter data; now it's AP vs Telangana police

  • The issue is based on a complaint by Reddy that IT Grids allegedly stole the official database of AP beneficiaries 
  • Earlier, Cyberabad police, along with the cybercrime officials, raided the office of IT Grids 

The complaint over theft of voter data by an IT company (which works for the Telugu Desam Party) in Andhra Pradesh escalated in a stand-off between Telangana and Andhra Pradesh (AP). A few dozen AP cops arrived late on Saturday night last week to the office of IT Grids Pvt Ltd (which created the Sevamitra app which the reportedly TDP uses for its campaign) when the Telangana police did not let them enter.

The Cyberabad police (in Telangana) on Saturday had also registered an FIR against IT Grids and also reportedly took four people into custody for questioning, based on a complaint by one Lokeswara Reddy. AP chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu also released a statement on the issue on 2 march, alleging that the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) in leaking private data (with consultants) of the TDP to the main opposition YSR Congress Party, and is trying to influence the upcoming state (and Lok Sabha) polls in AP.

The whole issue is based in the complaint by Reddy that IT Grids allegedly stole the official database of Andhra Pradesh beneficiaries for alleged voter profiling (through the Seva Mitra app developed for the TDP). Subsequently, the Cyberabad police, along with the cybercrime officials, raided the office of IT Grids and reportedly took four people in custody for questioning. The case has been registered under different sections of the IPC and IT Act.

The AP police on Saturday turned up at the IT Grids office in Madhapur based on a complaint by the management of the IT firm that its employees who were taken into questioning are missing. That led to the stand-off between cops from the two Telugu states. However, the Cyberabad police in a statement on Saturday night denied that such a thing happened.

A senior TDP leader, who did not want to be quoted, said that the entire issue pertains to AP, and that the Telangana police has no jurisdiction in the neighbouring state. When contacted, AP AB Venkateswara Rao, additional director general of police (intelligence), said that the Andhra Pradesh policemen were not allowed inside the IT Grids office on Saturday night.

“People from our area were missing. They are IT professionals. We will not ask them, they (Telangana police) also know the law," Venkateswara Rao told Mint, when asked if the AP police will ask the case to be transferred from Telangana.

D. Ashok, the director of IT Grids Pvt Ltd has approached the High Court, and filed a writ petition against the state of Telangana, director general of police (Telangana), Station House Officer of Madhapur police station and others. A senior official from the Cyberabad police said that they will produce the four people who have been detained in the court on Monday.

A press release from the YSRCP on Sunday also said that the TDP, after “getting caught red-handed trying to misuse citizen data is misusing the AP police for driving a wedge between the two states". It added that earlier party Rajya Sabha MP V. Vijay Sai Reddy had also complained to the police in Hyderabad, but no case was registered then.

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