Special Correspondent

Nasscom seeks cooperation from Star News, Dispatches

  • Security is a number one priority: Karnik
  • Data sold was fake, claims alleged criminal

    BANGALORE: Star News (India) and Channel 4 (UK) have been urged to cooperate "immediately, fully and wholeheartedly'' with the Indian authorities in the light of claims the programmes (on Star News) and "Dispatches'' (on Channel 4) have made about finding corrupt staff associated with Indian call centres.

    A programme, based on the same alleged criminals as the ones in the Star News broadcast is expected to be aired by Channel 4 in the U.K. on October 5. The Channel 4 programme is understood to have spent over a year trying to locate security lapses in India's call centre industry.

    The National Association of Software and Service Companies (Nasscom), the trade body of India's IT software and services industry, has written to Dispatches (Channel 4) saying that its immediate cooperation is vital. Nasscom had been in correspondence with Channel 4/Dispatches in connection with the broadcast and had requested details of the allegations which Dispatches intends to make together with the evidence/support documentation that it had refused to provide.

    "Whilst there are a lot of unanswered questions, we take any allegation of a breach in our security extremely seriously. It is vital that Dispatches cooperates immediately so that the perpetrators of any breach can be brought to justice and that lessons can be learnt. Nasscom will reach out to the Indian police authorities to investigate the claims made in the programme. The media can help by ensuring that there is no further delay in their bringing evidence of their claims to the Indian police,'' said Nasscom President Kiran Karnik.

    "We urge Star News to similarly cooperate and ensure that all information is provided to the police. We are concerned about the verifiability of such stories, especially sting operations where monetary inducements were provided. These operations sometimes go beyond uncovering wrongdoing and actually induce criminal activity that is then recorded and aired. In this particular case, one of the alleged criminals has stated that the data he offered for sale was fake. This, and the lack of prompt cooperation by the Producer with enforcement agencies, makes difficult the task of bringing to book the criminals involved,'' Mr. Karnik added.

    "Security is a number one priority. India has established an excellent international reputation and under no circumstances, will we allow this to be compromised,'' he added.