Voter Data theft in Bengaluru: BBMP Blacklists Chilume Educational, Cultural and Rural Development Institute, says it forged ID Cards

The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has blacklisted Chilume Educational, Cultural and Rural Development Institute which it had tasked with electoral role revision work since 2017, following allegations that the entity had indulged in voter data theft.

BBMP chief commissioner Tushar Giri Nath, who is also the election officer for the city, passed an order on Tuesday blacklisting the institute. The order comes 55 days after BBMP terminated the service of this institute following a voter data theft complaint.

The order said that multiple documents and reports have revealed that Chilume had forged BBMP identity cards to pass off private individuals as booth level officers (BLOs) and coordinators which was in violation of the conditions the palike had set for employing Chilume.

Chilume was also found to have accepted a donation of Rs 17.5 lakh from Nandiesh Reddy, a political party candidate in 2018 assembly elections from K R Puram, in violation of the conditions set by the Palike, the order stated.

The order further stated since Chilume was found to be involved in the illegal act, BBMP has barred it and other organisations run by the directors of Chilume from getting any work, participating in any tender and availing any contract from the civic body. “This institute has been blacklisted,” the order stated.

Chilume and a firm it had hired carried out a voter survey this year and got their volunteers to pose as BLOs and BLCs.

Probe found Chilume not NGO but Private Company

The Palike had first engaged Chilume in 2017 and asked it to hire BLOs to conduct voter revision.

In the ongoing investigations carried out by Bengaluru regional commissioner Aditya Amlan Biswas, it was found that Chilume is not an NGO but a private company registered under registrars of companies.

Biswas had flagged this to the Election Commission. On his recommendation, the EC recently passed an order banning private entities from all electoral rolls work and directed district election officers not to hire such parties for revision of rolls.

When allegations of voter data theft against Chilume had surfaced, the BBMP teminated its service on November 2. On November 15, the Palike had filed a complaint against Chilume.

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