The police in Uttar Pradesh arrested 10 men on Sunday who they said are members of a gang that was involved in counterfeiting Aadhaar cards, hailed for their bulletproof biometric features at the centre of the government’s push for reforms in welfare, taxation and communications.
Fingerprint scanners, iris scanners, laptops, rubber stamps, Aadhaar cards, GPS devices and printing material have been recovered from the men, police said, indicating a well-established network that appeared to have bypassed extensive security mechanisms set by the Unique Identification Authority of India or UIDAI which issues the cards.
The main accused Saurabh Singh is from Kanpur.
Police said the arrests have been made after leads in the last few months about a gang spread across Uttar Pradesh involved in making fake Aadhaar cards using tampered client applications and help of unauthorised individuals at enrolment agencies.
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The mechanism adopted was very complex and involved cloning finger prints of UIDAI centre operators to log on to the Aadhaar website and carry out fake enrolments, they said.
Police also say they found the Information Security Policy mandated by the UIDAI was being broken at many levels, including registrars, enrolment agencies, supervisors, verifiers and operators. The entire Aadhaar enrolment process will be audited for security, they said.
Aadhaar, the world’s largest biometric ID card program which ascribes unique numbers after recording fingerprints and iris scans of each person, was originally set-up to streamline the country’s welfare benefit payments and reduce wastage.
But Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has been keen to broaden the mandate of the scheme. More than 100 crore Indians have already signed up for Aadhaar cards which have been made mandatory for an increasing number of purposes from filing tax returns, owning a cellphone connection to availing school lunches.
The Aadhaar data is also being pushed for promoting digital transactions by the centre. Sunday’s bust casts a shadow on these efforts.
News Source: NDTV