Bengaluru voter data theft: Survey data stored in servers in East Europe, say investigators

Officials investigating the Bengaluru voter data theft case said that the server of the Digital Sameeksha App used by Chilume Educational Cultural and Rural Development Trust was hosted in an East European nation.

“We have written to the country to share the information stored in the server and are awaiting a response,” officials privy to the investigation told The Indian Express. They suspect that some of the data collected by volunteers employed by Chilume was uploaded to the server.

The data was collected illegally and could be used to assess the voter distribution of a constituency for monetary gain, investigators suspect.

There are also fears that the request to the East European nation by the state police has not been honoured. “The data could also be transferred to another server even before investigators have access to the critical private information of voters,” sources said.

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The case of illegal collection of voter data in the guise of Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation Programme (SVEEP) in Bengaluru city limits has triggered a major controversy in the state. Investigations are being carried out by the police, Regional Commissioner and Election Commission about various aspects of the case.

Four Electoral Registration Officers (ERO) were arrested and the Special Commissioner (Administration), Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike, S Rangappa, was suspended in connection with the case. The EROs are accused of illegally granting permission to the NGO to carry out the survey in the guise of SVEEP.

Apart from the officials, director of Chilume Ravikumar Krishnappa and three others — including the person involved in developing the Digital Sameeksha app — have been arrested.

Following the expose of the scam by an online news portal, Congress had alleged that the voters’ list was tampered with and accused the ruling BJP government of a conspiracy to deny voting rights to many in the city. Noting that Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai was the in-charge minister for Bengaluru, the Congress had demanded his resignation and a judicial probe into the issue.