NEWS
24/05/2017 1:54 PM IST | Updated 24/05/2017 2:54 PM IST

Top Executive Of Company Linked To UIDAI Admits To Anonymously Trolling Twitter Users

Sharad Sharma came clean in a statement on Twitter.

Mansi Thapliyal / Reuters

A top executive of a private organisation closely associated with Aadhaar, run by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), admitted to anonymously trolling critics of the government's project.

Sharad Sharma, co-founder and member of the governing council of iSpirt, tweeted his admission of guilt on Tuesday.

"Anonymity seemed easier than propriety, and tired as I was by personal events and attacks on iSPIRT's reputation, I slipped," said Sharma.

"There was a lapse of judgement on my part. I condoned tweets with uncivil comments," he added in a post attached with his tweet. "So I'd like to unreservedly apologize to everybody who was hurt by them." Sharma would now be investigated by a compliance committee, of which he isn't a part.

iSpirt, or the Indian Software Product Industry Roundtable, was founded in 2013 as an offshoot of industry body NASSCOM's annual product conclave. Former UIDAI chairman Nandan Nilekani was one of its mentors.

As Scroll.in reported, users on Twitter critical of Aadhaar were targeted not only by Sharma himself but also by anonymous handles, accusing them of a range of offences, from hypocrisy to being funded by the ISI in Pakistan.

One of the targets of these invectives, Kiran Jonnalagadda, established in a blog post that at least one of these anonymous handles (@Confident_India) that were trolling him was run by Sharma. While Sharma did not admit to any such misdeeds for a while, he came clean on Twitter yesterday.

Once Sharma confessed his part in the organised opposition of any criticism against the government's Aadhaar scheme, Nilekani himself stepped in, praising him publicly for what he's done.

Others, like lawyer Apar, who tweets from the handle @aparatbar, were less convinced by the sincerity of Sharma's apology. In a thread on Twitter, he outlined the imperious behaviour and outright lack of decency that Sharma had shown at a public event in September 2016.

Recently, the official handles of UIDAI and its CEO ABP Pandey were also embroiled in a controversy for blocking Twitter users who asked them uncomfortable questions on the social media platform.

Oddly, a number of users that were blocked hadn't even actively engaged or tagged either of these handles at all, which lead to the suspicion the agencies were keeping track of any sign of opposition or resistance.

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