Cyber expert claims 2014 elections were rigged, leaving country on another debate over EVM tampering

New Delhi: Country got shocked by a press meet of an American hacker who revealed that the Electronic Voting Machines used in India during 2014 loksabha polls were hacked for BJP. Syed Shuja, a self-proclaimed US-based Indian cyber expert who appeared through a video conference in press meet conducted in London by Indian Journalists in London explained and put forward a presentation on how EVMs were hacked. He allegedly disclosed that Reliance Jio was providing technological support to hack the EVMs especially in Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. 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.

Addressing a press conference in London via Skype, Syed Shuja said he fled India in 2014 because he felt threatened in the country after the killing of some of his team members and currently he has been seeking asylum in US. Although he appeared on screen through Skype, his face was masked.

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. Several political parties in the past have alleged that the EVMs are prone to tampering and demanded reintroduction of the ballot papers. AAP had a presentation in Delhi assembly house to show that the EVMs can be tampered.

Later allegation went on some other shocking events like BJP leader and union minister Gopinath Munde was “killed” because he was aware of EVM hacking 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. After this press meeting, Gauri Lankesh’s murder also put in the same series that she was also shot in to death to prevent the secret of tampering goes in public.

In a statement released in New Delhi, the Election Commision 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.