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Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Linking Aadhaar to mobile and bank accounts is illegal. Here is what you can do if you are forced

Mobile linkage
Various telecom companies are citing TRAI and DOT notifications to force you to link Aadhaar to your mobile else face disconnection. While it is not amusing that the government believes that a SIM issued in someone’s name is used by the same person and terrorists and criminals do KYC with their own documents or Aadhaar, here are just three ways that requiring an Aadhaar to obtain a SIM endangers India:

1. It enables terrorists, criminals and anti-national forces to obtain multiple SIMs through eKYC, claims of eKYC, or submitting Aadhaar cards of other persons and use them in turn to open bank accounts for money laundering and financing anti-national activities.
2. It facilitates obtaining all documents like passport, and drivers licenses by using the new SIM and the Aadhaar. It, therefore, destroys our ability to distinguish a citizen from an illegal immigrant. It is therefore like the disease AIDS for the country.
3. The SIM treated as a proof of identity of the user allows infiltration of the country, even its defence services, with terrorists and anti-nationals causing a national security threat.
Here are just three ways that requiring an Aadhaar to obtain a SIM endangers you:
1. Because Aadhaar and one time passcode (OTP) are treated as “second factor authentication”, SIMs issued with your Aadhaar will be the single point for fraudsters to hack your identity, commit crime and rob you of your property, dignity, liberty, equality and access to justice.
2. Bank accounts opened using your Aadhaar and SIM, as well as property transactions, registration of contracts will no longer be in your control or with your knowledge and traceability. Because the use of “your” SIM in these instances will leave little deniability, if you are accused of these acts, it will destroy your right to justice.
3. The SIMs issued using your Aadhaar allow anyone in possession of such SIMs to impersonate you in both your private and public life. Not only will you have no way to know of such misuse, but you even have no ability to prove and control the misuse.
Bank linkage
Most banks have gone on an overdrive of threatening to freeze existing bank accounts unless customers to link Aadhaar. They are also refusing to open new bank accounts without Aadhaar, citing GSR 538(E), the amendment to the Prevention of Money-laundering (Maintenance of Records) Rules, 2005 under the Prevention of Money-laundering Act, 2002 (15 of 2003) (PMLA), on June 1st 2017.
It is not amusing either that the government believes that Aadhaar identifies anyone at all, provides proof of the persons authorisation or consent to opening bank accounts or even to do bank transactions. Here are just three ways that linking an Aadhaar number to a bank account or carrying out bank transactions destroys India’s financial systems:
1. When pressured to link Aadhaar to bank accounts, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had maintained that the use of the Aadhaar number was in conflict with the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), the Basel Standards for maintaining customer information and its own extant guidelines. The RBI also highlighted that at best the Aadhaar is a third party identification and such third party identification is not used in banking practices anywhere in the world. It had also highlighted that the use of eKYC destroys customer acquisition information and customer records. As such, Aadhaar enables millions of shell bank accounts to be opened.
2. Bank accounts opened with Aadhaar can be created and operated remotely and therefore create a framework for money laundering at a scale that is impossible with pre-Aadhaar KYC. In five years post Aadhaar KYC, bank accounts in India have doubled from 44 crore to 88 crore and deposits have also doubled from Rs66 lakh crore to Rs122 lakh crore suggesting shell accounts with black money being parked in them.
3. Aadhaar -enabled Payment Systems (AEPS) transfer money from Aadhaar to Aadhaar number and not bank accounts. Such money transfers do not leave money trail and therefore facilitate money laundering in ways that was not possible with National Electronics Funds Transfer System (NEFT) or Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS).
Here are just three ways that linking Aadhaar to your bank accounts endangers you:
1. Your bank account becomes Aadhaar enabled allowing AEPS to transfer money into or from your account as soon as you link it to Aadhaar. This means all money transfers through the AEPS to or from your bank account will be un-traceable and therefore, also irreversible.
2. Money transfers to your account can now be hijacked by a “phishing” account that links itself to your Aadhaar number to receive money meant for you. Such money transfers may become impossible to track and reverse, as they do not leave any money trail.
3. Crime committed using duplicate accounts opened with your Aadhaar number will point to you, not the fraudster. This will also leave you defenseless and deprive you of recourse to justice.
What can you do?
Neither the Aadhaar linkage to mobiles nor the linkage to bank accounts is legal. In fact, it even violates the orders of the Supreme Court and is counter to the Rule of Law. The coercion to link Aadhaar to mobile phones started because of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) and the Department of Telecom (DoT) colluded to ignore the Court’s orders, the rule of law, and existing legislation to produce notifications that mislead, misquote and cause coercion.
The coercion to link bank accounts started because the Department of Revenue, under the Ministry of Finance issued an illegal notification ignoring the law, Court orders and the rule of law.
Government notifications forcing you to link Aadhaar to mobiles, bank accounts and other services are illegal, contempt of the orders of the Supreme Court and a disrespect of the rule of law. You can send letters to the authorities and demand they respect orders of the Supreme Court of India, the Rule of Law and protect national interests as well as yourself.
Courtesy : Dr Anupam Saraph (views are his personal)

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