After bombarding customers with messages to link their SIM cards with Aadhaar, a telecom major in Bengaluru has been accused of deactivating a man’s SIM card under the guise of not linking it to his Aadhaar card.
Interestingly, the consumer, Prabhakar HL, is the project director for Aadhaar (UID) in Karnataka and works at the Centre for e-Governance.
Prabhakar alleged that five days ago, the telecom operator deactivated his SIM saying he had not linked the SIM card to his Aadhaar. The customer, however, told the service provider that he had linked his Aadhaar through OTP authentication. But the telecom operator insisted that he give his fingerprints to restore the connection, reported Bengalore Mirror.
“On Monday morning, my phone stopped working and I had no clue what could have gone wrong. I called up the customer care and, initially, they said it was a technical glitch. After repeated calls, I was asked to go to a customer care outlet and give my fingerprints for Aadhaar linking. I told them that my Aadhaar verification process is done and I know the rules,” Prabhakar said.
“The irony is that I head the division that gives identity cards to people and the cell phone service provider is trying to fool me, he added.
Prabhakar also alleged that the customer care asked the officer to submit any document to prove his identity for SIM activation.
“This is absolutely ridiculous. Why should I prove my identity to them all over again? I had given my documents when I got the connection and I have also done the Aadhaar authentication. The irony is that I head the division that gives identity cards to people and the cell phone service provider is trying to fool me,” Prabhakar added.
A spokesperson from the company told the newspaper that they are not disconnecting any SIM cards right now.
After a government mandate last year over a notice from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), telecom operators began sending multiple messages to subscribers reminding them to re-verify mobile numbers using Aadhaar cards.
According to the information available on the UIDAI website, “the Aadhaar holder should provide this OTP along with his Aadhaar number during authentication and the same shall be matched with the OTP generated by the Authority.’’
Last month, in the wake of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) temporarily suspending Aadhaar-related e-KYC verification by Bharti Airtel, Airtel Payments Bank managing director and CEO Shashi Arora stepped down from his position.
Bharti Airtel was allegedly using the aforementioned verification process to open payments bank accounts of its customers without their knowledge or consent.
This month, the UIDAI, however, extended the conditional permission given to Airtel to resume Aadhaar-based e-KYC verification of telecom subscribers till March 31, from the initial date of January 10.
The move is aimed at facilitating the linking of Aadhaar with mobile SIMs. Coincidentally, the new deadline for this is also 31 March, as directed by the Supreme Court.
(With PTI inputs)