GUWAHATI: The State Coordinator of NRC (SCNRC), Hitesh Dev Sarma has lodged an FIR with the Superintendent of Police, CID and sought that a case should be registered against former SCNRC Prateek Hajela along with some officers and data entry operators for alleged anti-national activities during updation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam.
Sarma stated in the FIR that "despite the mandate of the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India for an error-free NRC, the then State Coordinator, NRC Sri Prateek Hajela may have intentionally avoided the mandatory quality check by ordering use of a software which prevented quality check and facilitated entry of names of ineligible person into the NRC, which can be seen as an anti-national act affecting the national security."
He further informed the SP, CID that various procedures were adopted for updating the NRC, which included the Family Tree Matching. The Family Tree Matching programme was taken up when it was found that there were some loopholes in the document verification as some genuine documents might have been used to make false linkage claims with a person of the pre-1971 era. While Office Verification was being done, Dev Sarma stated, it was noticed that the documents submitted fraudulently could not be detected merely through Office and Field Verification, while some imposters tried to establish linkage with some genuine citizen through these fraudulently acquired documents. The 'Family Tree Matching' was introduced as a remedy to this. In the Family Tree Matching process, all the offspring of a 'Legacy Person' from whom lineage is claimed, were asked to submit their family details, which were then compared and matched through a software (eForm 3 & LVRRS) with the other family trees submitted by descendants of the same legacy person. Consequently, there appeared a mismatch as and whenever there was an attempt to claim false lineage, since elaborate checking could easily expose the names of those persons who are not biological descendants of the legacy person.
He stated that the mechanism was designed to be such that the family trees of the genuine offspring matched with each other, and the family trees of the imposters, who attempted to assume descent through pre-1971 legacy documents as their ancestors, did not match with that of the genuine offspring.
The matching of 'Family Tree' would have been the ultimate full-proof method of NRC verification, "had it been executed with due diligence". However, Sarma said, evidence now points that due diligence was not exercised while conducting this process.
The Family Tree Matching was done in two phases, namely e Form 3 and LVRRS (Linkage Verification Result Review System) — where the verifying officers were asked to match the Manual Family Trees (MFT) submitted by descendants of same legacy person in hard copies with the help of the Computer-Generated Family Tree (OFT) in the laptops provided to them. In eForm3 verification, matches in various MFTs against the concerned Legacy Data Code were to be put as 'Y' and mismatches as 'V' and the 'Y's were accepted for inclusion into NRC and 'N' were to be put for further verification. By doing so, persons fraudulently using legacy data could be easily detected. After matching various MFTs of descendants of same legacy person with the help of OFT, the verifying officers were to upload their findings to the cloud which eventually went to the database of the NRC.
However, Sarma said, the software was prepared in such a manner that as soon as the data is uploaded, the data vanishes from the laptop screen of the verification officer and becomes no longer available for any quality check (QO) by supervisory officers in order to ascertain whether the matching of MFTs was done properly or not. This has been confirmed by the IT vendor M/s Bohniman Systems Pvt Limited who prepared the software.
Sarma further stated that surprisingly, in the Family Tree Matching phase, no order of quality check was ordered by Hajela. The software, too, lacked any scope of quality checks. Instead, he alleged, the software was prepared in a way which was designed to avoid any quality checks, giving the verifying officers of doubtful integrity a free hand to upload wrong results to fulfil their vested interest.
Sarma also accused Hajela of "knowingly disobeying" an order of the Supreme Court in 2018 in order to facilitate entry of ineligible persons' names into the NRC. The Supreme Court order in question did not permit the NRC State Coordinator to review the office verification of documents already completed for 24,89,745 people, but Hajela allowed the review exercise by defying the top court directive. Thereby, Sarma said, Hajela "intended to cause injury to the genuine citizens as well as to endanger national security by ensuring presence of doubtful persons inimical to the security of the nation."
Sarma has sought that Hajela be charged by the CID under sections 120 B, 166A, 167,181,218,420,466 read with section 34 and other relevant sections of the IPC.
It may be mentioned that in September, 2019, the Assam Police had registered two cases against Hajela and a few unidentified officials over allegations of discrepancies in the NRC list.
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