A Delhi resident's PAN Card was misused in a recent case of data theft. Anuj Kumar Srivastav, a 27-year-old sales executive in a pharma company, has claimed that his PAN Card details were stolen and transactions of more than Rs 20 crore made in his name. The Lakshmi Nagar resident said that his name was listed as "director" in 13 firms with the stolen data. Moreover, a deal of around Rs 61 lakh was made with a Hong Kong-based company on his name. Srivastav is a working professional with a monthly salary of Rs 25,000 per month, owns a WagonR car, and lives in a modest rented accommodation. Srivastav came to know about the misuse of his personal details when the Income Tax Department issued a notice to him earlier this year, The Indian Express reported.
He said that when he first got the notice, he didn't take it seriously. Srivastav ignored the first three notices as he thought they were mistakenly sent to him. The notices intimated him that on April 23, 2015 Rs 61.37 lakh were remitted from one Maxkart Impex company to Dynamic Telecom Trading Lts situated at Bright Way Tower in Mong Kok Road.
"I got a call from an IT official who informed me that the transaction was carried forward from Janakpuri branch of a national bank. The payment was made allegedly in lieu of import of software where I was made as a proprietor of Maxkart Impex company," said Srivastav, as mentioned in the daily.
Few days later he went to the bank along with a CA, where he was showed the photocopy of his voter ID, PAN card and his photo but with a signature that was not his. He eventually filed a complaint with Delhi Police and the Enforcement Directorate but no action was taken.
Meanwhile, Srivastav found that a "heavy amount" was deducted on his tax, following which he tried to approach the investigating agency again. It is then that he found that he was made director of 13 companies with the help of his PAN card and "bogus accounts" were created from where transactions of Rs 20 crore were made in the last seven months.
Eventually, on July 31, a Delhi court ordered the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of Delhi Police to act on the complaint and take out a detailed report on the matter by September 1. A senior official of the EOW said that initially they sent the matter to the IT department but were eventually asked by the court to investigate it themselves. The Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (CMM) Sumedh Kumar Sethi also told the daily that cases involving cheating and breach of trust amounting to more than Rs 2 crore will be dealt with by the EOW.
Srivastav said that he was not given a personal loan of even Rs 5 lakh once banks perused his IT documents. He now hopes that the IT department would rectify the mistake.
While Srivastav may soon be out of this mess, the case raises concerns about safety of documents such as PAN and Aadhaar, which are increasingly becoming necessary to avail governtment schemes and even phone SIMs. As it is, India still does not have data protection laws.
French security researcher, Elliot Alderson, has been consistently challenging Indian authorities and UIDAI over the lack of data security.
(Edited by Anwesha Madhukalya)