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Cyber expert says 2014 polls rigged, EVMs hacked; EC stands by its machines

BJP described this explosive allegation as a 'hacking horror show organised' by the Congress

BS Web Team | Agencies  |  New Delhi 

EVM Machines

A self-proclaimed cyber expert said in London on Monday Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Jio helped the to rig the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) used in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections but provided no proof for his allegations.

Syed Shuja, who wore a mask as he spoke to Indian reporters through Skype, said he fled India in 2014 because he felt threatened after the killing of his team members.

How were the EVMs hacked?

Shuja, who said he is seeking political asylum in the US, claimed the telecom giant Reliance Jio helped the to get low-frequency signals to hack the EVMs. He provided no proof to back up his claim.

However, Jio was not in operation in 2014 and had launched its services in September 2016.

Shuja, who created a flutter, also alleged that other than the BJP, the SP, BSP, AAP and Congress, too, are involved in the rigging of the EVMs. There was no immediate reaction from any of these parties.

He was presented at the press conference held under the aegis of the Indian Journalists' Association (Europe).

He said the would have won the recent Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh Assembly elections if his team hadn't intercepted the alleged attempts by the saffron party to hack the "transmissions" in these states.

EC asserts 'foolproof nature' of its machines

Rejecting the outlandish and explosive claims, made in a cloak and dagger manner, the Election Commission of India (ECI) asserted that it firmly stands by the 'foolproof nature' of its machines even as it said it is examining as to what legal action "can and should" be taken in the matter.

In a statement released in New Delhi, the poll panel said whereas it is "wary of becoming a party to this motivated slugfest", it firmly stands by the "empirical facts about foolproof nature of ECI EVMs" used in elections in India.

The ECI reiterated that the EVMs used by it are manufactured by Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) and Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL), both state-owned, under "very strict" supervisory and security conditions.

It said there are rigorous standard operating procedures "meticulously observed" at all stages under the supervision of a committee of technical experts constituted in 2010.

Shuja claimed he was part of a team at the ECIL.

Several political parties in the past have alleged that the EVMs are prone to tampering and demanded reintroduction of the ballot papers.

hacking claims a 'hacking horror show' by Congress: BJP

The BJP described this explosive allegation as a "hacking horror show organised" by the and said the Opposition party has begun looking for an excuse for its likely defeat in the next Lok Sabha polls.

In a sharp attack on the Congress, Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said its leader Kapil Sibal's presence at the press conference in London was not a coincidence. Naqvi alleged that top leaders, including its president Rahul Gandhi and his mother Sonia Gandhi, would have sent Sibal as their "postman".

"Electronic Voting Machines cannot be hacked. What is clear is that anti-India forces have hacked into the mind of What we have seen is a hacking horror show organised by the Congress ahead of its defeat in Lok Sabha polls. It is looking for an excuse for its impending loss," the BJP leader told reporters.

He said these allegations were part of an exercise to "defame" India and people will never accept such attempts.

Opposition to take up hacking issue with EC, says Mamata

Soon after Shuja's press meet in London, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said the Opposition will take up with the Election Commission the claims made by Shuja.

"Our great democracy must be protected. Every vote of yours is precious. All Oppn parties discussed the #issue after the #UnitedIndiaAtBrigade rally. We are working closely together and decided on Jan 19 itself to consistently take up the matter with EC. Yes, every vote counts," she tweeted.

Speaking at the event in London, Shuja claimed he worked for the ECIL from 2009-2014.

Shuja said he was part of a team which designed the EVMs used in the 2014 elections. He said that he and his team were instructed by the ECIL to find out if EVMs could be hacked, and find out how to do this.

"The 2014 general elections were rigged," he claimed. The BJP-led NDA came to power ousting the Congress-led UPA in 2014.

Shuja also alleged that the Lok Sabha election results in Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Delhi in 2014 were rigged.

The self-styled cyber expert alleged that the EVMs were hacked by the BJP using a modulator which transmits military-grade frequency. There was no immediate reaction from the BJP.

He also claimed that BJP leader and union minister Gopinath Munde was "killed" because he was aware of in 2014 general elections.

Munde died in a road accident in New Delhi weeks after the BJP won the 2014 elections in May.

Shuja also claimed the NIA officer investigating Munde's death, Tanzil Ahmed, was planning to file an FIR noting he had been murdered but was himself killed.

"In Delhi state elections in 2015, we managed to intercept the transmission, resulting in the AAP winning 67 out of 70 seats. Otherwise, the BJP would have swept," he claimed.

Shuja said some of his team members were killed and he was also allegedly attacked but survived.

He said he met a prominent Indian journalist and told him the whole story about the alleged EVM rigging.

The Election Commission and political parties were invited to be at the press meet but only Congress leader Kapil Sibal attended the event, he added.

First Published: Mon, January 21 2019. 22:47 IST
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