By: Tushar Kaushik
Bengaluru: Officials have taken steps to make Bhoomi — the online database of the state’s land records — more secure after it was discovered that insiders were involved in an illegal land transfer in 2016.
In 2016, nine acres of government land in Malur taluk of Kolar district was illegally transferred to a private individual. In July 2018, another such incident occurred when 19 acres of government land in Devanahalli taluk was transferred to a private individual. Following this incident, the police restarted investigations into two other cases as well, both of which occurred in Kolar district in 2015 and 2016. In the 2016 case, it was found to be an inside job, as a former consultant with Bhoomi and an employee who was still working at Bhoomi were responsible for the transfer.
Munish Moudgil, Commissioner of Survey, Settlement and Land Records, said the primary step taken to make the database more secure was to restrict knowledge of the password to only one official in the entire state. Prior to the Devanahalli incident, several officials had the password and a new server was also installed for the database. “To copy the database into the new server, the password had been shared with many people, and it was not changed afterwards, which was one lapse from our side,” he said.
A revenue official said as the Bhoomi servers were not connected to the internet, there was no possibility of them being hacked by an outsider. The Devanahalli incident was detected when another Bhoomi consultant detected it. Following the incident, to check if any other such incidents had occurred, the department ran a check to see if every change in the database reflected a change made by the authorised tahsildar and did not find any discrepancy. Moudgil said such a check was the only way to detect wrongdoing. Investigations said the Devanahalli land transfer was done in the Kolar tahsildar’s office. “It is clear that an employee who knew the password did the transfer, and the police investigation has to identify the person,” Moudgil said.
Another move in the pipeline is to shift the data to a centralised database handled by the Union Government. “Right now, the central database has a copy of the data from the taluks. The idea is to reverse that so that the centre will be responsible for the data security,” an official said.
B Dayananda, Inspector General of Police (Central Range) is overseeing investigations into the Devanahalli incident.
Source: Economic Times