NRC coordinator accused predecessor Hajela of compromising national security; files FIR with CID

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Hitesh Dev Sarma has lodged an FIR with the CID of Assam police against former NRC state coordinator Prateek Hajela alleging the inclusion of many “illegal and doubtful” persons in the NRC list through special software
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Hajela
Prateek Hajela | File

Guwahati: The National Register of Citizens (NRC) coordinator Hitesh Dev Sarma has lodged an FIR with the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of Assam police against former NRC state coordinator Prateek Hajela alleging the inclusion of many “illegal and doubtful” persons in the NRC list through special software.

Hitesh Dev Sarma accused Hajela of compromising national security and contempt of the Supreme Court directive.

In a complaint letter to the Superintendent of Police, CID, Assam, Sarma said, “Despite the mandate of Supreme court of India for an error-free NRC, the then state coordinator, NRC, Prateek Hajela may have intentionally avoided the mandatory quality check by ordering the use of a software which prevented quality check and facilitated the entry of names of an ineligible person into the NRC which can be seen as an anti-national act affecting the national security.”

Sarma claimed that the family tree matching programme was taken up when it was found that there were some loopholes in the document verification as some genuine documents might have been used to make false linkage claims with a person of pre-1971 era.

“While office verification was being done, it was noticed that the documents submitted fraudulently could not be detected merely through office and field verification, while some imposters tried to establish linkage with some genuine citizen through these fraudulently acquired documents,” said NRC Coordinator Hitesh Dev Sarma

Sarma claimed that to evaluate the precise effects of the absence of quality check in the family tree matching, some sample checks were made on the results of the family tree matching for some legacy data code used under three NSKs-namely Baghbar 29, Kalgachia 6 (Barpeta district) and Dalgaon 6 (Darrang district) through limited manpower in the office, during which following facts have emerged; total number of legacy data code used in state- 39,29,703, number of legacy data code verified in 3 NSKs- 2,346, Number of names erroneously entered into NRC through FT match- 975.

“From this, it can be noticed that 975 persons names were entered into the draft NRC through wrong uploading of data from out of 2,346 LDCs checked, i.e against 975 persons the family tree matching result should have been ‘NO’ but uploading of result was made as ‘YES’. In other words, large number of erroneous entries in to the draft NRC were found in the sample check, which is very high by any standard and which perhaps cannot be taken as unintentional human error, thus, the purpose of the family tree matching was found to be completely vitiated,” added Sarma.

Sarma further claimed that the list of officers and data entry operators is prepared only on the basis of sample check only. “Had there been a scope for verifying the whole database, the figure of errors would have been much more. The uploading of wrong results in such a large number cannot be seen as normal error but an intentional act threatening the national security,” added the NRC coordinator.

The National Register of Citizens (NRC) coordinator Hitesh Dev Sarma further urged the CID officials to register a case against Prateek Hajela along with other officers and data entry operators under sections 120(B), 166(A), 167, 181, 218 and 420, 466 read with sec 34 and other relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

He also urged the CID Assam police to do necessary detailed investigations to book the perpetrators who are involved in the alleged antinational activity.

Earlier, Chairman of Assam Public Works Department, Abijit Sharma had filed an affidavit both in the Supreme Court and the Gauhati High Court against Hajela, highlighting “anomalies” in the NRC as names of about 40 per cent illegal and doubtful persons were inserted in the list.

It may be mentioned the process to update the register began following a Supreme Court order in 2013, with the state’s nearly 33 million people having to prove that they were Indian nationals prior to March 24, 1971.

The updated final NRC was released on August 31, 2019, with over 1.9 million applicants failing to make it to the list.

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