An Indian cyber 'expert', seeking political asylum in the US, on Monday made a series of claims regarding the 'hackability' of EVMs, one of which was that the 2014 general election was "rigged" and that senior BJP leader from Maharashtra Gopinath Munde who died in a road accident was 'murdered' as he was going to 'expose' the government of their deeds. However, his claims have been busted by the doctor who conducted Munde's post-mortem.
Addressing a press conference in London via Skype, the 'hacker', identified as Syed Shuja, said he fled India in 2014 because he felt threatened in the country after the killing of some of his team-members.
Appearing on the primetime debate with Republic TV's Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami, Dr. Sudhir Gupta, head of forensic medicine at AIIMS, who was at the head of the board that conducted Munde's autopsy clarified that homicide had been ruled out and that it had been discussed with the Delhi police and CBI.
He said, "The post-mortem, in this case, has been conducted by a medical board, headed by me and three other doctors. It was attended by the then Health Minister, the full cabinet was present there. We had found an elbow excel joint fracture it the post-mortem, with a posterior neck defect. This elbow excel joint fracture is not possible in any case of homicide, hence it was ruled out at the very beginning. it could only be possible in the case of an accident when the high momentum is being applied to the neck. This has been discussed properly in a complete way with Delhi police and a large board had been constituted by the CBI."
Shuja had also claimed that the BJP had got access to low-frequency signals to hack EVMs. However, he provided no proof to back up his claim. The company he accused of helping the BJP, however, was not in existence in 2014 and was only launched on September 5, 2016.
Shuja claimed that the BJP would have won Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh elections if his team hadn't intercepted the BJP attempts to hack the transmissions in these states.
The outlandish and explosive claims, made in a cloak and dagger manner, could not be immediately confirmed. He claimed he was part of a team at the public sector Electronic Corporation of India Ltd (ECIL), which designed and developed the EVMs. He was presented at a press conference organised by the Indian Journalists' Association (Europe). Although he appeared on screen through Skype, his face was masked.
The ECI, standing firmly on the foolproof nature of the EVMs, has also said that it is mulling legal action on the matter. It added that the EVMs are made in India under strict supervision.
Here is ECI's statement:
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.