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EC files police case against man who claimed EVMs can be hacked, sets off row


The Election Commission of India has filed a police complaint into US-based Indian “cyber-expert” Syed Shuja’s allegations at an event in London that EVMs used in India can be tampered with.

The poll panel said it had learned, through media reports, that Shuja had claimed at the event that he was part of the EVM design team and can hack the EVMs used in Indian elections and sought the matter be “investigated properly”.

Shuja, who also claimed to be a former employee of the Electronic Corporation of India Ltd, made a series of unsubstantiated allegations about the vulnerability of electronic voting machines (EVMs) used in India, including in the 2014 general election at the event.

Appearing at the news conference through Skype, he said he was based in the United States, where he got political asylum after fleeing India due to threats to his life.

According to Shuja, who said he also went by other names, 200 seats in the 2014 elections that would have been won by the Congress were rigged in favour of the Bharatiya Janata Party by manipulating data transmission through what he called “military-grade modulators” installed in various parts of the country. He did not provide any proof.

The event, organised by the Indian Journalists Association and the Foreign Press Association, was supposed to feature the live demonstration of EVMs being hacked, but Shuja cried off, claiming he was attacked recently, which also explained his absence in London, and that individuals who were to bring the EVMs from India were brought off, explaining lack of machines that could be hacked at the event.

Hours later, the poll panel said the EVMs were “foolproof” and that it was examining what legal action “can and should be taken in the matter.”