Data breach: IT firm employees produced before Telangana High Court

Hyderabad: The Cyberabad police on Monday produced four employees of Hyderabad-based firm IT Grids (India) Pvt. Ltd before the Andhra Pradesh High Court here in an alleged data breach case.

Monday is a holiday on account of Maha Shivratri, the employees were produced before Justice R.S. Chauhan at his residence.

On Sunday, the court had passed orders on a habeas corpus petition moved by the company’s CEO in this regard.

IT Grids CEO D. Ashok had moved a house motion (a petition submitted at a Judge’s residence in case of a holiday) alleging that four of his colleagues had been illegally detained by the Cyberabad police.

The police denied the arrest and said they had served notices to the employees to appear for questioning in connection with the alleged data breach.

IT Grids, which provides IT services to Andhra Pradesh’s ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP), is facing allegations of stealing data of 3.70 crore voters from the Andhra Pradesh government database.

Cyberabad police had on Saturday registered a case against the company on a petition by whistleblower T. Lokeshwar Reddy, who alleged that the TDP had provided it with private data of Andhra Pradesh voters including their Aadhaar details, colour photographs and mobile numbers.

The complainant alleged that IT Grids amalgamated voter data with reports of surveys done by the party and uploaded it on Sevamitra, an app for TDP cadres.

Reddy claimed that the data was being misused for voter profiling and deleting the names of non-TDP voters to further the prospects of the ruling party in the Assembly and Lok Sabha elections.

On Sunday, there was mild tension at Reddy’s house in Kukatpally area in Hyderabad when a police team from Andhra Pradesh barged into his house and allegedly abused him and tried to whisk him away. Cyberabad police have offered protection to the complainant.

The searches conducted by Cyberabad police and the alleged arrest of four employees have led to a rift between the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

Andhra Pradesh’s main opposition YSR Congress party alleged that the TDP was caught red-handed while stealing the voters’ data. The TDP, however, denied the allegations and termed the action against IT Grids a conspiracy by the YSR Congress and Telangana’s ruling party Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS).

Meanwhile, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu for a second consecutive day on Monday held a meeting with Advocate General D. Srinivas and Director General of Police R.P. Thakur to discuss the developments in the case and the legal action to be taken.