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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

BBMP withdraws Chilume’s permit after Cong’s allegations

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Bengaluru: The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) on Thursday withdrew the permission given to Chilume Educational Cultural and Rural Development Trust for conducting house-to-house visits to create awareness among the general public towards applying online applications pertaining to Voter ID.

“In view of the Special Summary Revision — 2023 activities, a permission had been granted to Chilume Educational Cultural and Rural Development Trust for conducting the house-to-house visit to create awareness among the general public towards applying online applications via Voter Helpline Mobile App pertaining to Voter ID, in coordination with BLOs, Electoral Registration Officers and Assistant Electoral Registration Officers of District Election Officer-Bangalore,” the BBMP said.

“However, the above said Trust has violated the conditions of the permission. Therefore, the permission has been withdrawn with immediate effect,” the civic body further said in a statement.

The BBMP also appealed to the people not to share their voter ID details with their representatives.

The statement comes in the wake of senior Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala alleging that Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, BBMP and Election Authority are overtly and covertly responsible for theft of voter data, fraud and impersonation through brazen misdemeanours.

“The 40 per cent commission sarakara has now corrupted the election process also. Bommai, BJP government and its officials, BBMP and the Election Authority are together partners in crime in trampling democracy with the evil design of snatching voting rights from the innocent Bengalureans,” he further alleged in a statement posted on his Twitter handle.

He demanded Bommai’s resignation for being party to crime in trampling democracy.

Surjewala said a private entity, named Chilume Educational and Rural Development Institute, referred to as Pvt Entity Chilume, has committed a brazen fraud of collecting voter data by impersonating its privately hired employees as government officers and issuing them booth level officers’ (BLOs) cards.

Posing as BLOs, employees of Chilume collected voter data in 28 assembly constituencies comprising information like caste, religion, age, gender, mother tongue, marital status, Aadhar Number, phone number, address, voter id number, email address of voters, he alleged.

Chilume then uploaded the entire vital voter information on a private app called Digital Sameeksha owned by its sister concern, Chilume Enterprises Private Limited, instead of uploading on the election commission voter registration helpline Garuda or Voter Helpline, Surjewala said.

“This was one more fraud perpetrated on the innocent voters of Bengaluru,” he said.

Surjewala further alleged that Chilume also subcontracted its work to multiple agencies and NGOs across Bengaluru thereby further compromising personal voter data among multiple unauthorized agencies.

The voters giving this sensitive private information were made to believe that the information was being given to BLOs as a part of the voter registration drive, he said.

Surjewala alleged that the proximity and connection of Krishnappa Ravikumar, owner-director of Chilume, Chilume Enterprises Pvt Ltd & DAP Hombale Pvt Ltd to IT Minister Dr CN Ashwath Narayan is apparent from the fact that he has been pictured as celebrating the birthday of Krishnappa Ravikumar.

He also alleged that permission was given for Mahadevapura assembly and it was then extended to all 28 assembly constituencies of Bengaluru vide government order dated August 20, 2022. “Intriguingly, Chilume sought to do this voluminous exercise free of cost,” he said.

Surjewala alleged Chilume is connected with and owned by common owners and directors of two other entities known as Chilume Enterprises Pvt Ltd and DAP Hombale Pvt Ltd, and the centerpoint of the ownership is one Krishnappa Ravikumar.

Chilume Enterprises Pvt Ltd claims to be an election management company including working for EVM preparation for political parties. Shockingly, it also offers temporary polling personnel from virtually every branch of government, he said.

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