Prateek Hajela faces probe after NRC data disappears from Cloud

Guwahati: After the NRC data disappeared from Cloud, the Assam Public Works (APW) lodged a complaint against Prateek Hajela, the former Coordinator of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam, for allegedly tampering with the records associated with updating the citizenship exercise. The complete list of NRC was published in August 2019.

Simultaneously, an FIR was also lodged by the office of the NRC Coordinator against Ajupi Baruah, a former associate of Mr. Hajela, for resigning without surrendering the password to the NRC data records system.

APW lodged complaint with the CID office in Guwahati asking the Deputy Inspector General of Police to register a case against Hajela for “tempering (sic) the valuable public records, i.e., NRC final list of Assam”. The APW an NGO whose petition in the Supreme Court in 2009 led to the NRC updating exercise, also sought an inquiry into the former coordinator’s involvement in “cybercrime in the whole process of NRC”.

The Supreme Court, which has been monitoring the NRC exercise, had ordered Hajela’s transfer to his home State Madhya Pradesh following which Hajela had relinquished his charge on November 11, 2019.

Ms. Baruah the Project Manager of the NRC also quit on the same day as Hajela. NRC’s Executive Director Chandana Mahanta lodged a complaint against her at the Paltanbazar police station in Guwahati. Ms. Mahanta complained that Ms. Baruah resigned and handed over charge on November 11 last year but did not share the password of the official email IDs and, which contain very sensitive correspondences and information on the NRC. Ms Mahanta sought action against Ms. Baruah for unauthorised possession of passwords of email IDs linked with an exercise monitored by the Supreme Court.

The police said they have begun an investigation.

Meanwhile, State NRC Coordinator Hitesh Dev Sarma has said that the NRC data were fully secure offline and that his office as well as that of the Registrar General of India (RGI) has the backup.

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