Personal information of voters in Andhra Pradesh have been illegally accessed by a firm, allege the Telangana police who are planning to write to the Election Commission and Aadhaar authorities. The Hyderabad-based IT Grids India Pvt. Ltd. has got illegal access to various personal and sensitive data of individuals which can be misused for illegal purposes, including deletion of names from voters' list, police sources said.
The company has a product called Party Analyst that can help political parties scientifically analyze and use voter data, sources said.
Deletion of names from voters' list has been a huge issue ahead of the elections in neighbouring Telangana. Police sources said around 50 cases have been filed in Andhra Pradesh alleging selective deletion of voters' names.
The police praised IT Grids on suspicion that they accessed sensitive information relating to voters and passed it on to the telugu desam.
The state's ruling Telugu Desam party has accused Telangana's ruling party, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi, of stealing its data. The TRS, Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu's party said, is trying to aid the opposition YS jaganmohan Reddy's YSR Congress.
Two days ago, the police carried out raids on the Hyderabad-based firm and seized some hard discs. Four employees were also taken into custody for questioning. A notice has also been issued to Amazon Web services, demanding that they produce the app database. The material will be sent for forensic analysis.
The complainant, Thummala Lokeswara Reddy, has alleged personal information and sensitive data of people were misused by the IT Grid India Pvt. Ltd. through the "Sevamitra" app that was developed for the Telugu Desam party.
The police say they suspect the firm got access to sensitive data related to Aadhaar, Electoral Rolls, government schemes and voter's information. They used the "Sevamitra" app - meant for TDP - to compile constituency-wise voters' data and determine which party they support.
The police claims there is an option to identify the preference of a voter for a particular party. The application is also said to have the information of voter ID, caste details and address.
The police say the firm also got access to data on the beneficiaries data of various welfare schemes of the state government. The information is being used to create a profile of each voter and use it for political purposes.
Following the raids, photos were released in social media that showed Andhra Pradesh chief minister Chandrababu Naidu and his son, the state's IT minister Nara Lokesh, with IT Grids chief Ashok Dakavaram. There were allegations that he was working not just to develop the app but to selectively identify those voters who are not TDP supporters and subsequently use that to delete those voters.
The TDP has alleged that the TRS government of Telangana is using its machinery in Andhra Pradesh to help YSR Congress chief Jaganmohan Reddy.
The party has alleged that the TRS used the state police to steal data that belonged to the TDP as part of the "Sevamitra" app.
The Chief Minister, Mr Naidu, has asked the police chief RP Thakur and advocate general Srinivas to take legal action. A war of words has broken out between the TDP and the TRS on the issue.