Expressing concern over the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) registering an FIR against Rachna Khaira, a reporter of The Tribune, in the Crime Branch of the Delhi Police, for investigating Aadhaar data breach, the Editor's Guild on Sunday demanded an intervention from the concerned Union Ministry for withdrawal of the cases against the reporter and conducting an impartial investigation into the matter.
Terming the FIR registered against the journalist as ''unfair, unjustified and a direct attack on the freedom of the press'', the Guild said,''Instead of penalising the reporter, UIDAI should have ordered a thorough internal investigation into the alleged breach and made its findings public. ''
''The Editors Guild is deeply concerned over reports that the Deputy Director of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) had registered an FIR against Khaira, a reporter of The Tribune, in the Crime Branch of the Delhi Police. The reporter has been booked under IPC sections 419 (punishment for cheating under impersonation), 420 (cheating), 468 (forgery), 471 (using a forged document) and also under sections of the IT Act and the Aadhar Act," it said.
"The Tribune report of January 3 by Ms Khaira had exposed how, for a small sum of money made to a payment bank, an agent of a private group would allegedly create a gateway to access details contained in an individual’s Aadhar card. Using a false identity, Ms Khaira had posed as an interested party and claimed in her report that she had easy access to details that individuals had listed in their Aadhar cards," the Guild said.
The UIDAI in a statement had subsequently denied that any data breach was possible.
The Guild condemns UIDAI’s action to have the Tribune reporter booked by the police as it is clearly meant to browbeat a journalist whose investigation on the matter was of great public interest. "It is unfair, unjustified and a direct attack on the freedom of the press.''