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A scam related to assigning building numbers to illegal buildings using user IDs and passwords of various tax officials has been discovered within the Thiruvananthapuram Corporation. Addressing a press conference here on Monday, Mayor Arya Rajendran said the culprits had not yet been identified, but two data entry operators working on a daily wage basis were told to remain at away because one of their computers turned out to be used for providing approvals.

What could be the tip of a larger scam was revealed during a thorough check of building permit applications ordered by the administration for a period of two months in various zone offices following use cases misuse of IDs and passwords of Kozhikode Corporation agents to authorize illegal structures.

The modus operandi is similar to that reported in Kozhikode. The practice of sharing the password and login credentials of the Sanchaya software used for building permit and tax management among officials for convenience appears to have led to the scam.

According to the mayor, the defendant had logged on to one of the computers used for data entry on January 28 at 8:26 a.m., well before normal working hours. Initially, the person used a bill collector’s login to enter details of two commercial buildings owned by Marappalam native Ajayaghosh. Within minutes, the person used the Revenue Inspector login credentials to verify the claim from the same computer. At 8:31 a.m., the person logged on using the revenue officer’s contact details and approved the request. Two numbers – 15/2909 (1) and 15/2909 (2) – were illegally assigned to the two commercial buildings through this rapid process.

“The fact that the entire operation using the three usernames was completed within minutes shows that it was performed by someone familiar with the Sanchaya software. We have identified the IP address of the computer system that was used for this. was one of the systems used by the two data operators, we asked them to stay away pending an investigation. This does not mean that they are involved in the scam “said the mayor.

Following a complaint from the Mayor, the Municipal Police charged a case under Sections 465, 467, 468 and 471 of the Indian Penal Code, relating to forgery, and Sections 43 and 66, relating to burglary in computer systems, of the Information Technology Code. (Amendment) Act 2008. The Company has asked the Center for Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC) to restore CCTV camera visuals from January to gather more information about the suspect as the system only has a capacity one month storage.

The Company issued a directive to managers last week stating that full responsibility for any misuse of user IDs and passwords rests with the owner of that ID. Since the breach happened in January, the maintainers whose passwords were used for the scam will not be held liable from now on.

The civic body also disabled the login credentials of 38 civil servants who had recently retired. The internal inspection team has completed the review of 312 of the 1,600 construction applications over the past few months as part of a deviation verification campaign. The construction application files of all the zone offices for the past few months will be reviewed soon, the Mayor said.