HC shaken by Aadhaar tests leading to thefts

Abhinav Garg | TNN |

NEW DELHI: A “major loophole” that allowed misuse of Aadhaar authentication system to access LIC policies has been identified by Delhi high court as a cause of grave concern.

On Wednesday, a bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice V K Rao started a PIL on the issue, seeking the stand of the Centre, Delhi Police’s Cyber Cell, UIDAI, and others to swiftly plug the loophole.
The bench decided to go ahead with the PIL after a single judge first flagged the breach, where unsuspecting mobile customers were lured into giving their thumb impression on bio-metric machine repeatedly to generate fresh SIM cards. The mobile connections were then used to allegedly siphon off money from LIC policies.

Last week, Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva had referred the matter to be treated as one of public importance while noting that “this loophole can not only have disastrous consequences for the said individual, but also raises serious law and order issues.”
Justice Sachdeva came across the misuse of Aadhaar authentication while hearing a bail plea of a shopkeeper selling mobile phones and SIM cards. He had managed to distribute several connections on a single Aadhaar verification of customers. As per the police, accused Manish Bansal, also did Aadhaar verification and linkage with the SIM cards where the customer had to submit his documents and get the bio-metric scan done. On the pretext that the scan was not satisfactory, he would ask the customer to undergo second round of scan. This time, he would use his details to issue fresh connection, but distribute it to others for fraudulent purposes.

An alarmed court noted that “the modus operandi that has surfaced in this case highlights a major loophole in the system, where fresh mobile connections could be issued in the name of an unwary customer, without his knowledge and consent.”
The single judge decided to highlight the issue to the Chief Justice after the police informed him that there have been other similar cases of Aadhaar bio-metric misuse and lodged a case in Vasant Kunj police station last year.

The judge underlined that “this issue needs to be examined by the home ministry, ministry of electronics and information technology, Unique Identification Authority of India, Cyber Cell under the supervision of the special commissioner of police and the telecom companies.”