APW president Aabhijeet Sharma (right) handing over a memorandum to Assam state NRC coordinator Hitesh Dev Sharma Credit: EastMojo image

Guwahati: Assam Public Works (APW), one of the leading rights groups of the state, has demanded the newly appointed state coordinator of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) 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 Wipro.

APW is the primary petitioner in the writ petition pending before the Supreme Court of India wherein the Apex Court of the country is currently monitoring the NRC process in Assam.

In a memorandum to Hitesh Dev Sharma, state coordinator of the NRC, Assam, APW president Aabhijeet Sharma said, “Altogether, five software developer companies, including Wipro, were involved in the NRC process. Different software 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 software 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 suspect 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 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 offsprings 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 assume 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,” 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 Hajela with his close aides should also be investigated properly.

The Assam government already appointed state civil services officer Hitesh Dev Sarma as the new NRC coordinator of the state in November this year. As per reports, the decision was taken by a Supreme Court bench by passing an order for the deputation of former NRC coordinator Hajela 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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