Data theft: ‘TS police had no jurisdiction to file FIRs’

Petitioner’s counsel to seek impleading of Election Commission in the case

Justice Shameem Akther of the Telangana High Court on Wednesday heard the arguments of senior counsel of the Supreme Court for the petitioner and the respondents in a writ petition filed by IT Grids director D. Ashok, seeking quashing of cases registered by the Telangana police against him on data breach charge.

The registration of criminal cases against Mr. Ashok, who hails from Andhra Pradesh, by the Telangana police assumed political overtones with ruling parties of AP and Telangana trading charges against each other. Senior counsel Siddarth Luthra, appearing for Mr. Ashok, presented to the court that Telangana police had no territorial jurisdiction in issuing the First Information Reports (FIRs) against his client.

The allegations of data theft are related to AP. “When the data said to have been stolen is connected to AP, how can Telangana police register cases?” he said. Interestingly, two FIRs were issued for a single offence, the lawyer said. The booking of cases against the company was politically motivated and indirectly aimed at defaming the Telugu Desam government by the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi of Telangana, he told the court.

To substantiate his argument, the senior advocate pointed out that the complainant in the second FIR was an office-bearer of youth wing of the YSRCP. He said that none of the voters, whose names were reportedly deleted from the electoral rolls, had lodged the complaint. Even the AP government had not complained of data theft but the Telangana police registered cases, he said. Senior counsel Mahesh Jethmalani, appearing for the Telangana government, said there was no need for Mr. Ashok to evade arrest by the Telangana police when he was not involved in any data theft. “Why is he not responding to notices issued by Telangana police on the matter?”

The senior lawyer pointed out that there was no response from Mr. Ashok even after the judge had directed him to respond to the notices of the police. Unwillingness of Mr. Ashok to appear before the police would only scuttle the investigation to ascertain facts, he said. Senior counsel Siddharth Luthra said he would move an application to implead the ECI, Unique Identification Authority chairman and the Chief Electoral Officer of AP in the petition.

The judge posted the matter for Wednesday.

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Printable version | Jun 2, 2020 2:29:54 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/data-theft-ts-police-had-no-jurisdiction-to-file-firs/article26594144.ece

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