In a statement later, the Election Commission called it a “motivated slugfest” and said they would explore “what legal action can and should be taken in the matter”.
WEB DESK / NEW DELHI
The Election Commission has dismissed the claims made by a London-based hacker, who said that he can hack the electronic voting machines EVMs used in India.
The controversial, claims of the hacker – made during a so-called hackathon in London this evening – comes amid a renewed focus on EVMs by the united opposition, which has formed a committee to spearhead the campaign for their removal and a return to ballot papers.
Dr Rajat Moona, the top technical expert with the Election Commission, told NDTV that EVMs are “stand-alone machines which have absolutely no capability of transmitting or receiving any data through any wireless communication of any sort”. This is why they are “tamper proof”, said Dr Moona, who is the director of the Indian Institute of Technology, Bhillai, and a member of a “technical expert committee” of the Election Commission on EVMs.
In a statement later, the Election Commission called it a “motivated slugfest” and said they would explore “what legal action can and should be taken in the matter”. The Commission said it “firmly stands by the empirical facts about foolproof nature of ECI EVMs deployed in elections in India”.
ECI Firmly Stands by Foolproof Nature of ECI EVMs
It has come to the notice of Election Commission of India that an event claiming to demonstrate EVMs used by ECI can be tampered with, has been organised in London.
Whereas ECI has been wary of becoming a party to this motivated slugfest, ECI firmly stands by the empirical facts about the foolproof nature of ECI EVMs deployed in elections in India.
It needs to be reiterated that these EVMs are manufactured in Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) and Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL) under very strict supervisory and security conditions and there are rigorous Standard Operating Procedures meticulously observed at all stages under the supervision of a Committee of eminent technical experts constituted way back in 2010.
It is being separately examined as to what legal action can and should be taken in the matter.
A self-proclaimed US-based cyber expert on Monday alleged that BJP leader Gopinath Munde was murdered in 2014 because ‘he knew about electronic voting machines (EVM) hacking’. Addressing a press conference in London via Skype, Syed Shuja, the expert who claims to have designed the EVMs used in India, also claimed that the elections in Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, and Gujarat were rigged.
The event, which took place in London, was organised by the Indian Journalists’ Association (Europe) and attended by senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal. Notably, the Election Commission of India has always maintained that the EVMs used in India cannot be tampered with.
Meanwhile, the Election Commission of India issued a statement, calling the UK hackathon event a “motivated slugfest”. EVMs are foolproof in nature, reiterated the EC.
The hacker, who identified himself as Syed Shuja, said Indian EVMs are “standalone devices”, which cannot be hacked remotely. They contain old chips manufactured when there was no Wi-Fi or Bluetooth technology. So while it was not possible to hack individual machines, with their algorithm, it was possible to tweak the machines, he claimed.
The unsubstantiated claims of the hacker are expected to turn up the opposition pitch for the removal of EVMs. Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal was present at the event where the hacker made his claims. At the programme, which was broadcast live on Facebook, the hacker also made a number of unsubstantiated political claims.
While the programme was in progress, Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee tweeted: “Our great democracy must be protected. Every vote of yours is precious. All Oppn parties discussed the #EVM 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”.
Part of its agenda is electoral reforms, which would include pushing for the minimum use of electronic voting machines and advocate the use of VVPATs or voter-verified paper audit trail machines on at least 50 per cent of the EVMs used.
The BJP’s Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said, “The Congress has a lot of freelancers, who sometimes reach even Pakistan to take help for removing Modi -ji. They are making a hacking horror show of their possible defeat in the upcoming elections”.