A self-proclaimed US-based Indian cyber expert on Monday made a sensational claim that the 2014 Lok Sabha elections was “rigged” through the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), which, he said, can be hacked, a charge rejected by the Election Commission of India.
Shuja said 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).
“Munde assured my team that they will be building the next set of (tamper-proof) EVMs,” but as nothing happened, ‘his team’ got suspicious on April 30, 2014, when voting was on in Hyderabad. “Our special modulators started receiving transmission left, right and centre and we got to know something was wrong.” ‘His team’ was ‘scared’ and ‘maintained silence’.
Later, one of his ‘team members’, named Kamal Rao, said he had secured a deal with a BJP leader. “We got greedy and decided to take the offer,” but 12 of his team members, who went to meet the BJP leader, on May 12, 2014, were shot dead. “I received a bullet, but it passed through, without damaging my heart. When I woke up, I was in a Swaraj Mazda van with corpses,” he claimed.
Addressing a press conference in London via Skype, the man, 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.
Although he appeared on screen through Skype, his face was masked. India’s Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora earlier this month said that the EVMs were tamper-proof and an expert committee was looking after their functioning. There is absolutely nothing to doubt about the integrity of the system, Arora said, adding that the entire functioning of the EVMs is being looked after by a highly-qualified technical committee.
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.
“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,” she tweeted.