National Register of Citizens (NRC)
National Register of Citizens (NRC)

Guwahati: In a significant development, one of country’s leading software companies, Wipro, is once again in the soup as a prominent leading right group of Assam has demanded a probe against the company by any agency of internationally repute about its role in the preparation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC).

Assam Public Works, primary petitioner in the writ petition WP(C) 274/2009 pending before the Supreme Court wherein the Apex Court of the country is presently monitoring the NRC process in Assam, alleged that the WIPRO and four other software companies were involved in massive malfunctioning while preparing the NRC.

In a memorandum to Hitesh Dev Sharma, state coordinator of the NRC, Assam, the president of the APW, Aabhijeet Sharma, has demanded to start a third-party audit by some internationally-acclaimed agencies to look into the functioning of software applications and IT infrastructure utilised in the process of the NRC, initiated by five software companies, including the Wipro.

“Altogether five software developer companies, including WIPRO were involved in the NRC process. Different softwares were used in updating the NRC. Ideally, there should be a test run for every software to judge its performance and all the software need some time to get it settled.”

Alleging that most of the softwares were put into the data verification without any test whatsoever leading to serious malfunction, which ultimately resulted in wrong entries into the NRC, the APW suspects that manipulation of data, which can be deleted only through an IT, audit of which was never done during the process of updating the NRC.

“The third party quality check was done by the then state coordinator, Prateek Hajela, and they performed as per the direction of Hajela himself, leaving a space for us to question whether it was authentic or not,” Sharma alleged.

Apart from WIPRO, the software developer companies, whose roles are under APW scanner are - Bohniman System Private Limited, MADDOC Technologies, Trans Technologies Solutions and RJ-45 Technologies.

On the verification of “Family Tree”, the APW chief further said that it would have been fool-proof method of NRC verification, had it been done properly.

“In the Family Tree verification, all the offspring of a “Legacy Person” were asked to submit their family details which were compared through software. The Family Trees of the genuine offspring match and the Family Tree of the persons who assumes a name in the pre-1971 documents as their ancestors do not match with that of the genuine offspring. However, due to various reasons, which are known to Prateek Hajela, the Family Tree verification did not work in the NRC process,” Aabhijeet Sharma alleged.

The APW president also demanded the newly appointed state coordinator, NRC, Assam that the alleged corruption committed by the then NRC state coordinator, Prateek Hajela, with his close aids should also be investigated properly.

Alleging massive corruption in preparation of the NRC in Assam, the APW further alleged that the Centre was spending the whole expenditure on the NRC process through its then co-coordinator Prateek Hajela. An amount of approximately Rs 1,600 crore has already been released, he alleged.

Elaborating on various alleged irregularities, the APW chief said, “For the process of updating the NRC about 10,000 laptops were purchased by the then NRC state co-coordinator at the cost of Rs 44,000 per laptop but later on it came to light that the value of such laptop is Rs 22,500 per laptop. About 11,000 electric generators were purchased by Hajela at a cost which is double the real market value of the product. Hajela appointed a private counsel as per his own wish, that too without the approval of the ministry of law and justice and Register General of India, although it must be represented by Central government counsels.”

Assam government has already appointed state civil services officer Hitesh Dev Sarma as the new NRC coordinator of the state in November this year. As per reports, a decision was taken by a Supreme Court bench by passing an order for the deputation of former NRC coordinator Prateek Hajela to his home cadre Madhya Pradesh after two separate cases for wrong inclusion of names in final NRC list was registered in Assam.

With the final NRC published in Assam on August 3, 2019, in which names of over 19 lakh people got excluded, various leading organisations of Assam, including the state government have already expressed their unhappiness over the process leading to the preparation of the NRC.

Earlier, Hajela also filed an affidavit in the SC where he requested the court to relieve him from all responsibilities of the NRC as he was receiving threats to his life.

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