Battle lines are drawn in the controversial case of alleged data theft and politicians of both Telugu states are at each other’s throats
The row between the two Telugu states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana over data theft took a new turn on Wednesday with the Telangana constituting a Special Investigation Team (SIT) while Andhra Pradesh’s ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP) lodged a police complaint that its data was stolen by Telangana government.
TDP leaders on Wednesday night lodged a police complaint in Guntur against the Telangana government. The leaders including TDP’s Andhra Pradesh unit president Kala Venkat Rao, cabinet minister P Pulla Rao submitted their complaint to Guntur Rural Superintendent of Police Rajasekhar Babu.
The TDP leaders alleged that the data stored by their party for last two decades was stolen by Telangana police in a conspiracy with YSR Congress party. They sought action against those involved.
Meanwhile, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu held a meeting with Home Secretary AR Anuradha and Director General of Police RP Thakur. They are understood to have discussed the latest developments in the data theft case.
This comes hours after Telangana government constituted an SIT to probe the data theft case involving an IT firm which provides services to TDP.
To be headed by Stephen Ravindra, Inspector General of Police (West Zone), the nine-member SIT will take up the case registered against IT Grids for allegedly misusing the sensitive data of the citizens of Andhra Pradesh.
The Home Department in its order said the SIT was constituted since the case requires expertise in investigation of cyber crimes involving various technologies and the probe has to be conducted in different places other than Cyberabad.
A case under various sections of Indian Penal Code and Information Technology Act was registered against the Hyderabad-based firm at Madhapur police station under Cyberabad police commissionerate on March 2.
It came on a complaint by T Lokeswara Reddy that sensitive data including personal information, Aadhaar, voter ID, electoral rolls, beneficiary details of government schemes were being processed illegally by the company without consent of the citizens.
Cyberabad police were on the lookout for IT Grids CEO D Ashok, who was being treated as the main suspect in the case.
The police case has sparked a row between Telangana and Andhra Pradesh governments. The TDP has alleged that that Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) resorted to theft of TDP data to help YSR Congress party in view of the coming elections.
However, TRS Working President KT Rama Rao said Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu and his son and IT Minister Nara Lokesh had become jittery as they were caught red-handed while stealing confidential data to further the poll prospects of the TDP.
YSR Congress President YS Jaganmohan Reddy on Wednesday complained to Andhra Pradesh and Telangana Governor ESL Narasimhan that Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu was “involved” in cyber crime.
A delegation of YSR Congress leaders led by Jagan met the Governor here and sought action against all those involved in data theft.
Later, Jagan told reporters that Naidu should own up the responsibility of data theft. He voiced concern over leakage of the confidential details of the residents of Andhra Pradesh to private parties.
“Chandrababu Naidu’s involvement in this heinous cyber crime is evident. There is no other way that confidential details of the residents of Andhra Pradesh, like the Aadhaar and bank account numbers, would be available with the private company called IT Grids,” he said.
The YSR Congress leader said the wrongful possession of confidential citizen data by a private company and the linking of their database with that of the government’s database was a cyber-crime and should be treated in the same manner.
“We will take up this issue with Election Commission and other concerned authorities as it is the breach of data and confidentiality which would lead to chaos and undermining of the democratic process if left unchecked.”
He alleged that Naidu was collecting data of households for the last two-and-half years and the data procured was linked to IT Grids.
On Naidu’s criticism over the complaint being lodged in Hyderabad, Jagan said he stooped so low as to project it as a conflict between Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.