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Govt clarifies again; says Ankit Fadia one of the Digital India brand ambassadors

New Delhi: Hours after the government denied appointing Ankit Fadia as an ambassador for "Digital India" campaign, it took a U-turn saying the self-proclaimed “ethical hacker” is among four brand ambassadors for Prime Minister Narendra
India TV News Desk September 29, 2015 19:34 IST
India TV News Desk

New Delhi: Hours after the government denied appointing Ankit Fadia as an ambassador for "Digital India" campaign, it took a U-turn saying the self-proclaimed “ethical hacker” is among four brand ambassadors for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's flagship initiative.

Other ambassadors for the programme include Satwat Jagwani, All India IIT-JEE — Advanced Topper -2015, Krati Tiwari, All India IIT-JEE —Advanced Girl Topper -2015 and Pranav Mistry, Samsung USA (Computer Scientist/ Author of 6th Sense).

“As part of the Digital India week (July 1-7, 2015) following four Brand Ambassadors were nominated for a period of one year to propagate the product and applications being launched by the department under Digital India Programme,” govt said.

Earlier today, a release by Press India Bureau denied appointing Fadia as the brand ambassador, “There were certain news reports that there is a move to appoint a brand ambassador for 'Digital India' programme of the government. This is to clarify that there has been no such move to appoint a brand ambassador as reported," it said.

Also Read: Flip-flop over Ankit Fadia as 'Digital India' ambassador

A few hours after the clarification, the link to the PIB release was no longer working, implying that the govt had retracted its denial.

"It was posted inadvertently by one of our officials without securing proper sanction. We will get back to you by evening with the actual position," a spokesperson for the department told IANS, when asked for a response.

Fadia, who shot to fame when he was all of 15 with his book "Unofficial Guide to Ethical Hacking", stood his ground and said the appointment letter was issued on July 1 and signed by then IT secretary Ram Sewak Sharma, now chairman of the telecom watchdog.

"Yes! I posted the certificate on Facebook yesterday. I have emails from government as proof as well," Fadia told IANS in an SMS. The said post on Facebook alluded to his claims, pointing out that he had been retained for a period of one year to propagate products and applications.

His Facebook post also said: "Humbled and honored to be appointed as one of the brand ambassadors to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 'Digital India' initiative."

Fadia calls himself an ‘ethical hacker' and has claimed to help many government agencies.  However, many have posted doubts about his credentials as a hacker.

Fadia had claimed to deface and hack the website of Chip Magazine, a charge that was later denied by the magazine.

Tech journalist Charles Assisi, an editor of Chip at the time the alleged incident took place, had written an article on Fadia questioning his credentials as a hacker. Titled ‘Ankit Fadia revealed,' the article is a scathing profile of the ‘ethical hacker.