IT firm executive asked to surrender over data breach

Cyberabad Commissioner of Police V. C. Sajjanar addressing media on IT Grids issue in Hyderabad on Monday.   | Photo Credit: Nagara Gopal

The Cyberabad police on Monday asked the chief executive officer of the TDP-engaged mobile application development firm IT Grids (India) Pvt. Ltd., Ashok Dakavaram, to surrender before them.

Four teams have been formed to look out for Ashok, who is suspected to be the key person in the data breach pertaining to over 3.7 crore voters in Andhra Pradesh. “We suspect Ashok is taking shelter in Andhra Pradesh. We will identify his location and bring him back to Hyderabad for questioning. If proved, it could be one of the biggest cases of data breach in the world after Cambridge Analytica,” the investigators said. Following a data breach complaint against two private firms, who were misusing the ‘confidential’ information about AP voters, the Madhapur police registered a case and conducted searches on the premises of IT Grids.


Cyberabad Police Commissioner V.C. Sajjanar said that after two days of intense searches, they have seized several electronic gadgets, computers, hard discs and other incriminating material, which proved that the firm had illegal access to sensitive data of AP citizens.

“The investigation so far has revealed that IT Grids got access to personal information and sensitive data of millions of individuals from Aadhaar, electoral roll, government schemes and information of voters associated with various political parties,” he said. Mr. Sajjanar said that everything was amalgamated and integrated with TDP’s ‘Sevamitra’ app used by the party cadre for advancing electoral prospects. The Sevamitra app was developed and maintained by the firm owned by Ashok, who has been issued summon notices.

Features of Sevamitra

Explaining the ‘unique’ features of the app, the Commissioner said that it has constituency-wise voter data and their political affiliations — whether they support TDP, YSRCP or Janasena party or have a neutral opinion. Apart from financial status, caste, address and mobile number of the voter, the app also has an option on the political preference of the voter, he said.

According to the police, the firm was also given access to data of beneficiaries of various government schemes in Andhra Pradesh, which also used to prepare a detailed analysis.

“We suspect that top officials and ministers in Andhra Pradesh government had given the information to this private firm to benefit TDP in the forthcoming elections,” an investigator said.

While denying charges that the Cyberabad police were under pressure from the AP government to dilute the case, Mr. Sajjanar said the AP government itself is under the scanner and soon they would be questioning several top people in connection with the case.

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Printable version | Nov 27, 2021 4:21:19 AM |

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