NEW DELHI: The government appeared to be on the backfoot after growing outrage over the FIR against The Tribune newspaper and its reporter and on Monday said it was committed to the freedom of the Press. It added that the FIR had been filed against unknown people.
“The government is fully committed to freedom of Press as well as to maintaining security and sanctity of Aadhaar for India’s development. The FIR is against unknown. I’ve suggested @UIDAI to request Tribune and its journalist to give all assistance to police in investigating real offenders,” said the Union Law and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Twitter. However, the Delhi Police FIR on a UIDAI official’s complaint over The Tribune report on alleged data breach of Aadhaar details, names the reporter behind the story.
“An FIR may be registered for immediate action at Cyber Crime Cell, Crime Branch Delhi Police, against Anil Kumar, Sunil Kumar, Raj, Rachna Khaira, The Tribune and other unknown persons,” said the copy of the FIR.
The FIR, lodged with the Cyber Cell of the Delhi Police’s Crime Branch, invokes serious charges under the Indian Penal Code, the Information Technology Act, and the Aadhaar Act. The UIDAI move attracted widespread criticism from the Editors’ Guild and journalists from across the country who demanded a withdrawal of cases against the newspaper and its reporter. Meanwhile, BJP lawmaker Shatrughan Sinha on Monday took to Twitter to express his anger over the issue.
“A journalist is hauled up for reporting alleged truth about malfunctioning & misuse of Aadhaar. 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,” he posted on his Twitter account.