March 29, 2018 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
New Delhi: The Indian government on Wednesday, in the last three months has for the first time admitted that the name of ‘The Tribune’ reporter Rachna Khaira figures in the case registered by Cyber Cell of Delhi Police in the alleged Aadhaar data leak case.
Union Minister of State for Home Hansraj Gangaram Ahir reportedly informed the Rajya Sabha in a written reply that the FIR has been registered on the complaint of Deputy Director (Logistics and Grievance Redressal), Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI).
He stated that the case has been registered vide FIR No 09/2018 dated January 5, under Sections 34/37 of the Aadhaar Act 2016, under Sections 419, 420, 468, 471 of Indian Penal Code (IPC) and under Section 66 of Information Technology Act at Police Station Crime Branch.
“The name of journalist of ‘Tribune Newspaper’ finds a mention,” he adds.
It was in earlier January 2018 that the reporter in question had investigated an organised racket of data theft and exposed the gang behind it. They use to sell the Aadhaar particulars as well as bio-metric details of other individuals for a petty sum of Rs 500. This report on data theft and compromise shook the general public to the core.
Apparently, on the one hand reporter Rachana Khaira was appreciated by the general public and supported by the media fraternity, she also received recognition from world renowned activist of privacy rights Edward Snowden. But on the other side she was being targeted and harassed by already red faced UIDAI for exposing their incapacity and incompetence to the world.
“During the course of investigation, information related to the case has been asked from UIDAI,” Union Minister of State for Home Hansraj Gangaram Ahir further adds to his statement.
Citing the sensitivity of the circumstances and the support she had been receiving for her investigative report Union Minister for Information Technology Minister, and for Law and Justice, Ravi Shankar Prasad, in his reported tweet on January 8, 2018 maintained: “The government is fully committed to freedom of Press as well as to maintaining security and sanctity of Aadhaar for India’s development. FIR is against unknown.”
Subsequently, while in a deceptive mode Ravi Shankar Prasad during the Rajya Sabha session purportedly affirmed that no individual has been named in the case.
Meanwhile, Joint Commissioner of Delhi Police (Crime Branch) Alok Kumar told Tribune that the FIR has been lodged against the newspaper and and its reporter.
Anil Kumar, Sunil Kumar and Raj — all of whom were mentioned in the Tribune report as the persons the reporter had contacted in the course of the her investigation have also been named in the FIR.
Delhi Police Cyber Cell is investigating the Aadhaar data access case against the newspaper, the reporter and others, including unknown persons. The investigators have already tracked the three outside persons named in the news report, reads the statement of Alok Kumar published in an English daily.
“The role of the police is viewing the role of the reporter in a positive manner and would soon ask her to join the investigation, if needed.”
As reported by the media sources the case is being investigated by a team headed by ACP Sandeep Lamba, who said exercise to arrest the three persons who sold unauthorised access details is afoot.