Bengaluru: Doctor arrested for signing papers that helped 3 Pakistanis get Aadhaar cards

Arrest of Dr C Nagalakshmamma, a gazetted officer, and group D staff of government hospital in Karnataka capital triggered concerns over Aadhaar authentication.

india Updated: Jun 01, 2017 13:35 IST
Vikram Gopal
Vikram Gopal
Hindustan Times, Bengaluru
A man gives his thumb impression to withdraw money from his bank account using his Aadhaar number. (AFP File Photo)

The arrest of a doctor for allegedly signing papers on the basis of which three Pakistani nationals got Aadhaar has triggered fresh concerns over authentication process for the 12-digit unique identity number.

Police arrested Dr C Nagalakshmamma, a gazetted officer, who works at a government hospital in Bengaluru, on Monday. A day later, police arrested Ravikumar, a group D employee at the hospital.

“Prima facie it looks like Dr Nagalakshmamma blindly signed on the paper given to her by Ravikumar,” deputy commissioner of police (Crime), HD Ananda Kumar, said. “While there does not seem to be any conspiracy, a crime was committed and we have booked both.”

Bengaluru police commissioner, Praveen Sood, said the procedure of authentication needed to be looked at afresh. “Even before Aadhaar, gazetted officers were caught authenticating documents without any verification. Hence, this definitely needs to be looked at.”

Delhi-based lawyer Gautam Bhatia said in the absence of verification at the time of authentication the system was prone to such lapses. “The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) says biometric authentication is foolproof. However, a lack of verification of documents submitted at the time of enrolment could lead to such mistakes.”

Bhatia added, “Once a person is enrolled in the system, there is no way to identify the fraud because the person would be authenticated.”

Officials at the regional office of the UIDAI could not be contacted, despite repeated attempts. Police have sought information from them regarding the number of persons who have enrolled in the system based on documents authenticated by gazetted officers.

Police arrested the three Pakistani nationals along with an Indian on May 24. They had lived in Bengaluru for two years.

“The three Pakistani nationals did not have valid visa and were residing here illegally,” Sood had said after their arrest. They managed to get valid Aadhaar numbers based on forged identities.

Police said 30-year-old Mohammed Shihab, who is from Kerala, fell in love with a Pakistani woman called Samira Abdul Rahman when working in Qatar two years ago. The couple got married, allegedly in the face of opposition from both sets of parents, and decided to flee to India.

But before leaving, they met another Pakistani couple — Kirhon Ghulam Ali and Kashif Shamshuddin — in the west Asian country who were also planning to move to India to escape their parents’ wrath. All three Pakistanis are believed to be residents of Karachi, police added.

DCP Kumar said investigations so far had not uncovered any conspiracy by the Pakistanis andShihab to commit crimes in India. “The two couples have stuck to their stand that they came to Bengaluru because their parents had opposed their unions,” he said.

First Published: Jun 01, 2017 13:35 IST