- Surat police on Saturday busted a ring involved in using stolen biometric data and arrested two fair price shop owners.
- Surat police commissioner said the data was not stolen from Aadhaar cards and was not linked with the UIDAI database.
- The software was available for Rs 15,000, police officials said.
“The accused were using a software that contained ration card numbers, Aadhaar card numbers and biometric thumb impressions of PDS beneficiaries. They used the details to create fake records of food grain sale. We are investigating from where the accused purchased the software, who developed it and who supplied the data,” said R Sarvaiya, assistant commissioner of police, detection of crime branch.
Surat police commissioner Satish Sharma said some agencies were given contracts by the state government to collect biometric data to link it with ration cards.
“It is possible that data was saved by somebody in those agencies and later sold illegally,” he said. Sharma asserted that the data was not stolen from Aadhaar cards and was not linked with the UIDAI database.
The software, with bulk data of beneficiaries, was available for Rs 15,000, police officials said. They believe that there is a bigger racket in stolen biometric details at play.
Babulal Chhogaji Boriwal, 53, and Sampatlal Rodilal Shah, 61, were booked under various sections of the IPC, including section 406, 409 (criminal breach of trust), 467, 468, 471 (forgery), as well as sections of IT Act and Essential Commodities Act. They were arrested after eight complaints were registered in different police stations by officials of the Surat collectorate following complaints of irregularities.
During a probe, police found cases where online records showed some beneficiaries like Kishore Thakkar, a resident of Udhana in Surat, had availed of subsidised foodgrains between April and November 2017. However, cops discovered that Thakkar had not bought anything from the fair price shop.
In 2016, Gujarat introduced the Annapurna Yojana. For transparency, the state had a verification system in which the beneficiary was issued subsidised foodgrains only after threestep verification in which they have to give their ration card number, thumb impression and UID number.
The state had developed an EFPS application, which is loaded with database of beneficiaries, for authorised sales. However, the accused found a way to break into the application and continue fraud, say police officials.