Hours after data of the final list of the Assam National Register of Citizens (NRC) disappeared from its official website, an FIR was filed against a former NRC official for allegedly failing to submit the password to the sensitive document before quitting her job.
Talking to PTI on Thursday, NRC state coordinator Hitesh Dev Sarma said the complaint against former NRC project officer was filed under the Official Secrets Act in Paltan Bazar police station in Guwahati, as she “did not provide the password to the document, despite written reminders”.
“She failed to surrender the password even after tendering her resignation on November 11 last year. She was a contractual employee and no longer authorised to hold the password, after quitting her job. An FIR has been filed against the former NRC project officer on Wednesday for violating the Official Secrets Act,” he said.
Sarma also stated that the NRC office had written to her on several occasions for submitting the password, but did not get any response.
“We knew (she had resigned) and, therefore, sent several letters to her for handing over the password. But as she did not respond all these months, we filed a complaint against her yesterday for violating the Official Secrets Act. We must know if she has tampered with the sensitive information, after resigning,” he added.
In another FIR filed with state criminal investigation department on Wednesday, NGO Assam Public Works (APW) alleged that former NRC Assam coordinator Prateek Hajela tampered with the final NRC list—published on August 31, 2019.
APW member Rajib Deka, in his complaint, accused Hajela of disobeying orders and directions of the Supreme Court, forgery of public register and committed offences under cyber laws for altering or changing public records by misusing his powers and position.
The NGO also said that after the publication of the final list, several social networks and sections of the media had reported anomalies, insisting that many ‘doubtful’ persons were able to insert their names in the final list.
Meanwhile, according to reports, it is learnt that NRC officials suspect that some crucial emails and vital correspondence may have been “wilfully deleted”.
All data of the final list of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam was made offline from its official website due to non-renewal of contract with the IT firm Wipro, prompting the Opposition Congress to doubt it as a “malafide act”.
The complete detail of exclusion and inclusion of bonafide Indian citizens in the NRC was uploaded on its official website ‘www.nrcassam.nic.in’ after the final list was published on August 31, 2019.
The disappearance of data has created panic in the public, mostly among the people excluded from the list as the rejection certificates were yet to be issued.
NRC State Coordinator Hitesh Dev Sarma has accepted that the data have been made offline but refuted the allegation of any “malafide” intent in it.
“The cloud service for the huge set of data was provided by Wipro and their contract was till October 19 last year. However, this was not renewed by the earlier Coordinator. So, the data got offline from December 15 after it was suspended by Wipro. I assumed charge on December 24,” Sarma told PTI.
He informed that the state coordination committee had decided to do necessary formalities in its meeting on January 30 and wrote to the Wipro during the first week of February. “Once Wipro makes the data live, it will be available for the public. We hope that people will be able to access it in the next 2-3 days,” Sarma said.
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) also on Wednesday clarified that the information is safe. It claimed that there is some technical issue in visibility on the Cloud, which will be resolved soon.
The final NRC list in Assam was published on August 31, last year, including names of 3.1 crore people and leaving out 19 lakh names. A total of 3,11,21,004 persons were found eligible for inclusion in final NRC leaving out 19,06,657 persons including those who did not submit their claims.
The NRC is a list of all citizens domiciled in Assam and is being updated at present to retain bonafide citizens within the state and evict illegal settlers, purportedly migrants from Bangladesh.
Hitesh Dev Sarma was appointed as the State Coordinator of National Registration, Assam on November 9 after Prateek Hajela was transferred to Madhya Pradesh on deputation, without any specified reason.