Aadhaar breach: Govt committed to freedom of Press

After a barrage of criticisms over filing FIR against a newspaper reporter for a report on Aadhaar data breach, Law and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Monday said that the government is committed to the freedom of the Press and the FIR has been filed against "unknown" entities.

"Government is fully committed to freedom of Press as well as to maintaining security and sanctity of Aadhaar for India's development. FIR is against the unknown. I've suggested UIDAI to request Tribune & its journalist to give all assistance to police in investigating real offenders," Prasad said on social media platform Twitter.

After the law minister's tweet, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) also said it is "committed to the freedom of Press." "We're going to write to @thetribunechd & @rachnakhaira to give all assistance to investigate to nab the real culprits. We also appreciate if Tribune & its journalist have any constructive suggestion to offer," the UIDAI tweeted.

The clarification came on the day when BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha tweeted saying "Are we living in a Banana Republic? What kind of justice is this? Is there only politics of vendetta? Even public is being victimised for coming out honestly for society & the nation."

Former Union Minister and Congress leader Ashwani Kumar wondered if the filing of an FIR against The Tribune reporter signalled the beginning of a police state.

The Delhi Police on Sunday said they have registered an FIR based on a UIDAI Deputy Director B M Patnaik's complaint that an input was received from The Tribune that it has purchased a service being offered by anonymous sellers over WhatsApp that provided unrestricted access to details of any of the Aadhaar numbers created in India. The FIR named The Tribune newspaper and its correspondent Rachna Khaira.

The Delhi police also said that this was open-ended FIR and they have not named anyone as accused. The police said they will probe how and who leaked the Aadhaar data.

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