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The Telangana High Court directed IT Grids CEO D Ashok to respond to the notices that the Telangana Police issued in the data theft case.
The accused namely, IT Grid India Private Limited, Blue Frog and another company allegedly stole Aadhaar data of constituency-wise voters living in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. It is further alleged that they utilised it to know political preferences of voters in Telangana Assembly elections.
The data theft case is being probed by the SIT officials in three angles — use of Aadhaar data, deletion of voters’ names with the help of stolen data, and uploading data to Seva Mitra. Seva Mitra is IT Grid India Pvt Limited’s mobile application made for TDP.
The complaint alleges that after illegally accessing the data, IT Grid further shared it with the intelligence department of Andhra Pradesh. The intelligence department of Andhra Pradesh, in turn, conducted surveys by visiting different places in Telangana ahead of Assembly elections held last December.
The case came to fore after data analyst Lokeswara Reddy filed a complaint at a Hyderabad police station on March 2 alleging that IT grids illegally procured and processed sensitive data of Andhra Pradesh citizens.
On March 6, the case was transferred for a thorough probe to the special investigation team (SIT) that the Telangana government set up. The police were on the lookout for Ashok.
In his petition, Ashok asked the court to quash the case against his company. Ashok alleged that the case was registered under a political conspiracy since Andhra Pradesh’s ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP) was their client.
While opposing the petition, the Telangana government counsel argued that Ashok should respond to the notice served. The court then adjourned the hearing to March 20, directing Ashok to reply.
The raids, police case and subsequent developments led a political standoff between Telugu Desam Party, Telangana Rashtra Samithi and YSR Congress.
Andhra Pradesh government alleged that TDP’s data was stolen under a conspiracy hatched by the YSR Congress and Telangana’s ruling party Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS).
Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu said, “That is my data, my government. You should phone our IT secretary and tell that data has been stolen. But like thieves, they stole our (TDP) data and filed a case. So we also filed a case (against the Telangana police).”
In retaliation, a SIT was set up by the Andhra Pradesh government to probe the case of data theft against Telangana.
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