Now even Illegal immigrants can buy Aadhaar card for Rs 500

Posted on Mar 26 2014 - 10:03am by IBC News

NEW DELHI: UPA government’s much-hyped Aadhaar card is available for a payment even to illegal migrants from Pakistan and Bangladesh, according to a sting operation by investigative website Cobrapost.

For charges ranging between Rs 500 to Rs 2500, those dealing with the project “agreed to make Aadhaar Cards for applicants without any proof of identification or address,” the website said in a statement. “These are the same people who have been entrusted to securely collect and send the biometric and demographic data of an individual to UIDAI’s data collection centre in Bangalore, Karnataka.”

The sting came on a day when the Supreme Court restrained the government from sharing Aadhaar card details with other agencies, and reiterated that no person will be denied any service or benefits for want of the card.

The website claimed that almost anyone, “be it Indian or an illegal immigrant can get an Aadhaar Card made without any proof of identity. More importantly, they get an Indian identity.”

What was supposed to be a unique identification number providing identification and access to a host of government benefits and services to Indian residents, ‘Aadhaar’ has almost unvaryingly been extended to immigrants who have illegally crossed into the Indian border, the website said.

A reporter, posing as a conduit for refugees from Nepal, Bangladesh, and Pakistan, approached a dozen Aadhaar offices across India. He told officials that these immigrants have no proof of identity or proof of address but need help in getting an Aadhaar card.

“The convenience, with which almost each of the Aadhaar enrolment officers gave assurances to not only provide the Aadhaar Card but also a proof of Indian identity, wasn’t surprising. Without a prescribed rulebook for the fraud it was up to these officers to make their demands. Most of them were reluctant initially, but gave in when the applicant agreed to the prescribed fees,” the website said.

Almost in all cases, the Aadhaar officers asked for a photograph and address written on a piece of paper for the purpose of making an affidavit, as proof of identity. The affidavit had to be countersigned by the local MLA or a gazetted officer thus making it valid. “No one bothered to check the antecedents of our immigrant applicants,” the statement said.

In a dingy office in Delhi’s New Seelampur area, where a large number of illegal Bangladeshi migrants live, an employee at the local Aadhaar camp offered the card at Rs 500, it said.

An employee at the SDM’s office in Kashmere Gate in Delhi purportedly told the undercover journalist that for 100 genuine Aadhaar cards, they also make 10 fake ones. This statement “gives us the insight that the Aadhaar centre he is in-charge of alone generates 10 per cent fake identities,” the website said.

At an Aadhaar office in Trilokpuri, an official ignored the illegalities saying, “This is India, anything is possible here.”