PUNE: The Inspector General of Registration (IGR) and Controller of Stamps, Pune, have lodged an FIR with Pune city police against a private firm based in Ahmednagar, for allegedly compromising cyber security of the central server of the department by utilising services of a local broadband service provider.
The firm was awarded a contract for online property registration through Integrated Stamp and Registration Information Technology (iSarita) application for IGR Maharashtra.
Based on a complaint from Deputy Inspector General of Registration (IT) Prakash Ahirrao, the Bund Garden police station registered a case against SM Computers Pvt Ltd, Ahmednagar, for offences under sections 43A (compensation for failure to protect data) and section 66 (computer-related offences) of the Information Technology Act.
According to IGR officials, the Department of Registration and Stamps faced issues like non-availability of real-time data and limited control on sub-registrar offices. Citizens had to visit multiple sub-registrar offices for getting data on property transactions.
Therefore, iSarita application was developed. It is a web-based centralised system which helps streamline the process for both the Department and the citizens. Citizens can find information on property transactions and registrations easily and use the online public data entry tool to enter their data themselves. The Department can monitor individual offices and ensure efficient delivery.
According to the FIR, the private company was selected through tender as a vendor for the services in Ahmednagar. In January 2013, it was found the company had violated terms and conditions of the tender. Instead of secure wired MPLS-VPN Internet connectivity, the company used Idea 3G and Tulip company broadband at the Ahmednagar sub-registrar offices no. 1, 2, 3 as well as sub-registrar offices in Igatpuri, Sangamner, Walwa, Karad and Sangli.
“The department was not informed before utilising this Internet connectivity. This act of the vendor compromised security of the central server, hence, the complaint was registered,” stated the DIG in his statement.
Police Inspector (Crime) Ramdas Khomne, who is investigating the case, told Sakal Times, “The Cyber Cell has transferred the case. Nobody has been arrested yet. Our probe is going on.”
When contacted, Suresh Kankariya, Director of SM Computers Pvt Ltd, Ahmednagar, said, “We are not associated with the project for last four years. I don’t know about the FIR. There is already a case going on with the IT Department Secretary. As far as connection is concerned, you can ask anyone using their connectivity, those offices cannot have an Internet connection, hence, we used other service providers.”
WHAT IS ISARITA?
iSarita is the browser-based property registration software used in 500-plus sub-registrar offices connected to the central server at MSDC through 2 Mbps MPLS VPN. About 10,000 documents are registered daily. During peak period (auspicious days and month of December through March), about 15,000 documents are registered. iSarita is in operation since July 2012.