In January 2018, eight persons were arrested in Chandigarh for purchasing expensive mobile phones with fraudulent loans secured using fake Aadhaar cards. The accused, among whom were former bankers and employees of a finance company, had placed their own photographs on others’ Aadhaar cards to secure bank loans, and were booked for cheating, fraud, forgery and criminal conspiracy under the relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code.
This is just one among the 73 incidents of misuse of the Unique Identity Authority of India’s (UIDAI) Aadhaar programme that have been reported in the English-language media so far this year (up to May 7, 2018). This averages nearly four incidents each week, as per a new database created by independent researchers Anmol Somanchi and Vipul Paikra.
Of these, 52 cases involved fake or forged Aadhaar numbers–coming up with entirely new Aadhaar enrolment based on fake details, or forging existing cards by replacing certain details like photographs–and 21 involved Aadhaar-related banking frauds.
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