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ECI lodges FIR with Delhi Police against Shuja on EVM rigging allegations

 
The Election Commission of India (ECI) today said it had lodged a first information report (FIR) under Section 505 (1)(b) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) against Syed Shuja, who claimed to be a US-based cyber expert and had, through a video conference, told a press conference in London yesterday that the electronic voting machines (EVMs) used in Indian elections could be tampered with.
 
The FIR was filed with the Deputy Commissioner of Police, New Delhi district, a press release from the ECI said.
 
Section 505 (1)(b) of the IPC deals with those making, publishing or circulating statements, rumours or reports with intent to cause, or which is likely to cause, fear or alarm to the public, among other things.
 
Shuja, an Indian who claims to have sought political asylum in the United States, made several sensational but unsubstanted claims at an at an event hosted by the Indian Journalists Association (IJA) in London
 
The hacker did not appear personally at the event but only spoke through video-conferencing, with his face covered. His exact location was not disclosed.
 
He claimed to have designed the EVMs while working for the public sector Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL), one of the manufacturers of the machines, and alleged that the 2014 Lok Sabha elections were rigged.
 
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won 282 seats in the 545-member Lok Sabha in those elections.
 
He alleged the machines were hacked using a "modulator" transmitting "military-grade frequency". 
 
He said his team had managed to "intercept" the signals during the 2015 Assembly elections in Delhi, but for which the BJP would have won them hands down. The Aam Aadmi Party won 67 of the 70 seats in the Delhi Assembly.
 
He said the BJP would have similarly won the recently Assembly elections in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgar, but for the "interception of the signals" from the machines by his team. The Congress won the three states.
 
Shuja also made several other claims, but all without any substantiation. 
 
Congress leader and former Union Minister Kapil Sibal was among those present at the event.
 
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The ECI, which had dismissed the allegations as "motivated slugfest" yesterday evening,  issued another statement asserting that the EVMs could not be tampered with.
 
The statement said members of the ECI's Technical Experts Committee --  Prof D T Shahani, Prof Emeritus IIT Delhi and Prof Rajat Moona, Director IIT Bhilai and Prof D K Sharma, Prof Emeritus IIT Bombay (Mumbai), had reconfirmed to it today that the ECI-EVMs were stand-alone machines designed to connect only amongst ECI-EVM units (Ballot Unit, Control Unit and VVPAT) through cables that remain in full public view.
 
"There is no mechanism in ECI-EVMs to communicate with any device through wireless communication on any Radio Frequency.
 
"All versions of ECI-EVMs are regularly and rigorously tested against low to high wireless frequencies. These tests include and go beyond the standard tests specified for electronic equipments.
 
"ECI-EVMs are regularly tested for proper functioning under all kind of operating conditions. ECI-EVMs are also regularly tested for code authentication and verification," the statement said.
 
About the allegations by Shuja that the VVPAT paper could be printed on both sides, with the lower tampered print being retained and voter-verified front side print getting erased later, the TEC clarified that VVPATs use thermal printers which can print only on one side of thermal paper. 
 
"The print is fully visible through the viewing window. The paper rolls used in VVPATs have only one-sided thermal coating and hence can be printed only on one side. The VVPAT paper print lasts atleast for five years," it said.
 
"CMDs of Bharat Electronics Limited and Electronics Corporation of India Limited, who are the sole manufacturers of EVMs and now also VVPATs, also reaffirmed that all the TEC prescribed Standard Operating Procedures are scrupulously adhered to and observed.
 
"It is however reiterated that while ECI-EVMs might malfunction sometimes like any other machine due to component failures and stop working, but even such a malfunctioning ECI-EVM would not record any vote incorrectly. It is reaffirmed that ECI-EVMs are not tamperable," the statement added.
 
NNN
 

(Our News Desk can be contacted at desk@netindian.in)

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