Hyderabad: Investigators studying the database of IT Grids (India) Private Limited have stumbled upon two-crore plus Aadhaar records of Punjab residents, adding to the Aadhaar data of 7.8-crore residents of AP and TS with the firm. This takes the size of alleged theft to 9.8 crore.
Investigators including from the TS Forensic Science Laboratory and TS police said this could be among India’s biggest data thefts. This is the first case in which the theft of data has been scientifically proven with the help of forensic studies.
Investigating officers are trying to find out why IT Grids would have in its illegal possession details of Aadhaar card-holders of Punjab. The company has been accused of using data of AP and TS residents for the Telugu Desam’s Seva Mitra app.
A source told Deccan Chronicle, “This is a first data case which is being scientifically investigated. Various software tools including Oxygen, FKT, MKT have been used to decipher the data.”
He said the Aadhaar data of Punjab was found in seized hard disks, pen drives, memory cards recovered from the office of IT Grids by the Special Investigating Team constituted by the TS police.
The team is investigating whether IT Grids stole data state by state. The UIDAI has stated that before 2016 it had shared the data with state governments which could have leaked it to IT Grids.
Interestingly, investigators also found the Aadhaar data and personal information of those who had filed police complaints which led to the unearthing of the alleged data theft: YSRC general secretary V. Vijaya Sai Reddy, Vishweshwar Reddy and four others.
“The record of card-holders in Punjab has been stored in a structure that is similar to that of the UIDAI (Unique Identification Authority of India),” added the source. This was the case with the data of Aadhaar card holders of AP and TS residents as well.
Last week, the UIDAI had filed a formal complaint with the Madhapur police based on the specific inputs given by SIT stating that Aadhaar details of 7,82,21,397 card-holders in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh were found in illegal possession of IT Grids allegedly for the purpose of the Seva Mitra application belonging to the Telugu Desam.
This was discovered when TS Forensic Science Laboratories analysed the digital evidence recovered by Telangana state police from the IT Grids (India) office.
The UIDAI has stated that companies that store bank account numbers of people without authorisation will face prosecution under banking, information technology and data protection laws. IT Grids (India) will face action under these laws.