Curbs on Aadhaar data use delayed murder probe: Cops

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The Bengaluru police would have cracked the gruesome murder of a Kolkata woman within 24 hours had the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) helped with the victim’s Aadhaar biometrics. 

The 32-year-old woman was found murdered on July 31 with nothing but a Titan watch, a pair of jeans and sandals on her person. It took the police a staggering 19 days to find out that she was Pooja Singh De. 

Investigators had approached the UIDAI with a request for help to establish the woman’s identity by taking her biometrics and checking if the details matched with any user profile. 

The UIDAI officials refused to share the biometric data, citing a Supreme Court ruling, according to the investigating officer. The IO spoke to senior officials in the UIDAI to consider this an exceptional case but the answer was a firm no. 

A senior police officer said the blanket ban on not sharing the Aadhaar details of anyone, including the dead or missing, did not make sense. According to him, the agency should share the biometrics of unidentified bodies or missing children so that the police could identify them quickly and solve the crimes. On average, Bengaluru reports 25 unidentified/unknown deaths in a month. The Aadhaar agency’s help could do wonders in these cases, the officer added. 

In Pooja’s case, once her identity was established, it took the police just a day to track down the cab driver H M Nagesh who is suspected of killing her for gain.

“Our time and energy would have been saved had the victim been identified with her Aadhaar biometrics. After arresting the cab driver, we found Pooja’s vanity bag which had her Aadhaar card,” the investigating officer said. 

Meanwhile, a court has remanded the cab driver in police custody until August 27. 

Police Commissioner Bhaskar Rao praised Bagalur police inspector Ramamurthy and his team on Saturday for a thorough investigation into Pooja’s murder. He also announced a cash award of Rs 50,000 for them. 

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