24-year-old arrested from Saharanpur for creating fake voter IDs by hacking into ECI website, say police
A 24-year-old man from Uttar Pradesh's Saharanpur has been arrested for allegedly creating hundreds of fake voter IDs by hacking into the Election Commission of India’s website, state officials said on Friday.
The Uttar Pradesh police on Thursday arrested Vipul Saini from Nakur town’s Maccharhedi village in Saharanpur district, news agency PTI reported. He has a Bachelor of Computer Applications (BCA) degree that he completed from the Gangoh village in Saharanpur and his father was a farmer, according to the police.
However, the ECI has said that its database is "absolutely safe and secure," following the incident. "A data entry operator of one of the AERO (assistant electoral roll officers) offices had illegally shared his user ID and password with a private unauthorised service provider in Saharanpur's Nakud town to print some voter ID cards. Both these persons have been arrested," PTI quoted an ECI spokesperson.
Following the initial investigation, the police found that Saini had created more than 10,000 fake voter IDs over a time of three months, at the behest of a person named Armaan Malik from Madhya Pradesh. S Channappa, senior superintendent of police, Saharanpur, said that an amount of ₹100 to ₹200 per fake voter ID was paid to him, according to the PTI report. Also, on further examination of the bank account following Saini’s arrest, a sum of ₹60 lakh was found deposited in it, after which the account was immediately blocked. The police have seized two computers from Saini’s home and are also trying to find the source of the money and more details about Malik.
Meanwhile, Saini had told the police that Malik used to send him the details about each day’s work. Further, the police also said that the authorities in Delhi would now seek the court’s permission to take Saini to the national capital for further investigation about the matter. He would be questioned about possible links with anti-national or terrorist forces, PTI further reported, citing the police.
Former chief minister of UP and leader of the Samajwadi Party (SP) Akhilesh Yadav said that the scam should be investigated to know if it gets any state protection. “The news of a youth making a fake voter ID card by 'digital burglary' on the website of the UP Election Commission is very serious. There should be an investigation in the entire state for such scams, to know whether it is getting state shelter. It is not only a question of security of the Election Commission but also of dignity,” he tweeted on Friday.