Report on Sprinklr data case reveals discrepancies, embarrasses Vijayan

Thiruvananthapuram, Oct 22 (IANS) A two-member committee appointed by the Kerala government to look into the handing over of Covid-19 data to a US based PR and marketing firm, Sprinklr, has revealed that it was done without complying with the rules.
The committee was formed in May after the high court refused to stay the transfer of the data to Sprinklr. At that time there was a huge outcry by the opposition on the issue. It was alleged that the personal data of 1.8 lakh Keralites was recorded and handed over to Sprinklr, soon after the Covid pandemic struck.
The report was submitted on Wednesday by former Civil Aviation secretary Madhavan Nambiar and Cyber expert Gulshan Roy to the state Chief Secretary.
The report also pointed out the lapses of the former secretary to Vijayan — M.Sivasankar, who had gone forward in giving the contract to Sprinklr. Sivasankar has been suspended for links with the prime accused Swapna Suresh in the gold smuggling case and has been questioned by various national probe agencies.
The report said there was no clearance from the law department and no senior official was taken into confidence ahead of signing up with Sprinklr. Soon after signing the deal, Sivasankar was seen hopping from one TV channel to another defending the handing over of data to Sprinklr.
It was Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala who led a huge public outcry and approached the Kerala High Court to stay the agreement and cancel it.
Speaking to the media, Chennithala said finally the position that they took on Sprinklr has come true.
“Each and every aspect of the agreement that we pointed out has been upheld. We protested because we knew it was not done in the proper way,” said Chennithala.
The two-member committee has also come out with fresh guidelines on the way things should be done in any future agreement. The committee said the data which has already been handed over to Sprinklr pertained to the basic health aspects and there was no need to raise an outcry.
At the height of the controversy, the Kerala High Court after hearing various petitioners in the controversial transfer of Covid-19 patient data, refused to stay the agreement and gave a number of directions to the state government, saying all safeguards regarding data privacy should be maintained.
The division bench of the high court then pointed out that if it was under normal circumstances, they would have seen this in a different manner.
The case is soon coming up for hearing in the court and the findings of the two-member committee could give some uneasy moments to Vijayan, who had accused the opposition of trying to play politics with the health of the people.

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