Police in Delhi say that the deputy director of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has filed an FIR against The Tribune newspaper and its reporter Rachna Khaira for reporting that Aadhaar numbers were up for sale for few hundred rupees.The report, which was based on an offer from an anonymous sellers over WhatsApp who reported promised to provide access to Aadhaar numbers for a fee. A report by Indian Express said that the FIR also named Anil Kumar, Sunil Kumar and Raj, all of whom were mentioned in The Tribune report as people Khaira contacted in the course of her reporting.
The UIDAI had denied breach or leak of Aadhaar data following the Tribune report’s claim that it had bought unrestricted access to the details of over one billion Aadhaar numbers — for just Rs 500. In a series of tweets, the authorities said that it had given search facility for the purpose of grievance redressal to designated personnel and state government officials to help residents only by entering their 12-digit Aadhaar numbers.
One of its tweets had said, “UIDAI assures that there has not been any Aadhaar data breach,” the statement said, adding that the data was secure with a robust uncompromised security.” The confidentiality of Aadhaar has been a hotly debated topic in India particularly after the Supreme Court ruled that the right to privacy was a fundamental right.
The government has decided to make the linking of Aadhaar numbers to bank accounts and mobile numbers mandatory. But the decision has been challenged in the Supreme Court. The deadline for mandatory linkage has now been extended to 31 March, 2018.