Babubhai Boriwal (53) and Sampatlal Shah (61), owners of “Pandit Deendayal grahak bhandar” shops under Gujarat’s Annapurna Yojana PDS, were arrested by the Crime Branch in Surat. They were using an illegal software that accessed leaked biometric data in order to acquire coupons in the name of different PDS beneficiaries to procure inexpensive rations through the PDS system for sale on the open market.

News reports claim that the investigation and arrests were done after district officials had earlier filed complaints against eight other shops after receiving complaints about PDS supplies being procured in the name of beneficiaries without their knowledge.

A Gujarati newspaper Sandesh had broken news of a widespread scam in Gujarat’s Annapurna Yojana PDS alleging that a cracked version of the E-FPS software that was provided to fair-price shop owners had “leaked” the biometric data of 1.27 crore card holders. The report stated that the software was widely available for Rs. 15,000 and had resulted in a massive scam in the PDS.

The people who sold the cracked version of the software to 10 shop owners (known) so far have not been caught. Like the Kanpur Aadhaar enrolment scam, the masterminds continue to be at large.

Vidyut is a commentator on socio-political issues with a keen understanding of tech and policy. She has been observing and commenting on Aadhaar since 2010 from a perspective of human rights, democracy and technological robustness.

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