New Delhi: The Election Commission on Monday rubbished the sensational claims made by a London-based hacker that electronic voting machines (EVMs) during the 2014 elections were rigged. The EC refused to be a party to this “motivated slugfest” and reiterated that the machines were "foolproof".
The EC further said that it is examining as to what legal action "can and should" be taken in the matter.
An Indian cyber expert, seeking political asylum in the US, claimed that the 2014 general election was "rigged" through EVMs, which, he said, can be hacked.
Addressing a press conference in London via Skype, the man, identified as Syed Suja, said he fled India in 2014 because he felt threatened in the country after the killing of some of his team members.
In a statement issued here, the poll panel said that the EVMs used by it are manufactured by Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) and Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL) under "very strict" supervisory and security conditions.
It said, there are rigorous standard operating procedures "meticulously observed" at all stages under the supervision of a committee of eminent technical experts constituted in 2010.
"It is being separately examined as to what legal action can and should be taken in the matter," the EC statement said.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who is in US for a medical check-up, took note of the goings on and called the EVM hacking the "next big lie".
After Rafale, the non-existent loan waiver to 15 industrialists – the next big lie – EVM hacking.— Arun Jaitley (@arunjaitley) January 21, 2019
Was the Election Commission & millions of Staffers involved in manufacturing, programming of EVMs & conduct of elections during the UPA Government in collusion with the BJP – absolutely rubbish.— Arun Jaitley (@arunjaitley) January 21, 2019
Joining the debate, Andhra Pradesh CM and TDP president Chandrababu Naidu urged the EC to seek opinion of all parties involved and sought immediate implementation of the ballot paper.
EVM is turning out to be a big threat to democracy. It is worrying to know the claims made on the possibility of tampering EVMs. EC must seek opinion of all political parties and revert to the paper ballot system immediately.— N Chandrababu Naidu (@ncbn) January 21, 2019
On Saturday, at the united opposition rally in Kolkata, National Conference president Farooq Abdullah called the EVM the "chor machine" and demanded that the ballot paper system be brought back for the sake of transparency.
"The EVM is chor machine. Honestly speaking, it is so. Its use must be put to an end. Nowhere in the world is the machine used. The opposition parties should approach the Election Commission and the President of India to stop the use of the EVM and bring back the old ballot papers for the sake of transparency," he said.
At the same rally, it was decided to form a four-member committee of opposition party leaders to launch a campaign for their removal.
In addition to evaluating the functioning of EVMs and finding ways to stop any malpractice, the committee will suggest electoral reforms to the Election Commission before the Lok Sabha polls, Mamata Banerjee said.
The committee, comprising Abhishek Manu Singhvi (Congress), Akhilesh Yadav (Samajwadi Party), Satish Mishra (Bahujan Samaj Party) and Arvind Kejriwal (Aam Aadmi Party) will submit its recommendations to the EC for implementation and will press for wider use of VVPAT, she said.