Saturday, 16 February, 2019

Cyber expert says EVMs ‘hacked’ during 2014 LS polls; EC rejects claims

EC threatens legal action against ‘EVM hackathon’ organisers EVM Can Be Hacked in India? US Cyber Expert to Display Live Hacking of Electronic Voting Machine in London Today Ahead of Lok Sabha Elections 2019
Ben Pena | 23 January, 2019, 00:01

A day after a self-proclaimed cyber expert set off a major political row with BJP and Congress trading charges against each other, the Election Commission Tuesday requested Delhi Police to lodge an FIR and investigate the matter "promptly" for his claims which, it said, can "create fear" in the minds of the public.

"Through media reports, it has come to the notice of the Commission that allegedly one Mr Syed Shuja, on January 21 in London. claimed that he was part of the EVM design team and he can hack the EVM used in elections in India".

He was at a press conference organised by the Indian Journalists' Association (Europe).

Shuja claimed that someone was "pinging" the EVMs to manipulate data. Since then many parties have approached the hackers to rig elections.

Shuja also alleged that the Lok Sabha election results in Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Delhi in 2014 were rigged. Congress leader Kapil Sibal also attended the event but did not participate or speak during the proceedings.

The VVPAT is a printer-like machine attached to an EVM that allows a voter to briefly see whether his vote has been correctly gone in favour of the candidate intended.

Shuja, who is reportedly a cybersecurity expert, had claimed on Monday that he could demonstrate how electronic voting machines (EVMs) used in elections could have tampered.

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He said Sibal has himself clarified that a journalist had invited him and he went, "but he was certainly not claiming to be representing the Congress party".

The EC would also examine what legal action could and should be taken in the matter.

Asserting that EVM can not be tampered with, EC said, "These EVMs are manufactured in Bharat Electronics Ltd. and Electronics Corporation of India Ltd under very strict supervisory and security conditions. Insanity in the Congress party is increasingly becoming contagious", said the Minister, who is in the United States for medical check up.

Another Opposition leader N Chandrababu Naidu, the Andhra Pradesh chief minister earlier took to Twitter to term EVM as a "big threat to democracy".

Speaking to news agency ANI, Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi targeted the Congress, saying the party has "a lot of freelancers, who sometimes reach even Pakistan to take help for removing Modi ji".

Soon after the news conference in London, Mamata wrote: "Our great democracy must be protected". The BJP had won the 2014 elections and had become the first party to secure a majority alone since 1984. All Oppn parties discussed the EVM issue after the #nitedIndiaAtBrigade rally.

Says Shekhar Gupta, condemning the irresponsible press meet, "This EVM presser isn't just underwhelming, it is insulting to anybody not smoking illegal stuff. Yes, every vote counts", she tweeted.

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