Set up all-party panel to probe if EVMS can be hacked: AAP
PARTY PROTESTS OUTSIDE EC OFFICE
UPPING THE ante on EVM tampering with demonstrations outside the Election Commission (EC) headquarters on Thursday, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) demanded the setting up of an allparty committee to investigate the machines. The move comes two days after AAP MLA Saurabh Bhardwaj had provided a live demonstration on EVM hacking during the special Delhi Assembly session.
Addressing media persons, Bhardwaj said, “You must have heard that when demonetisation was implemented in the country, people were quite distressed. Many lost jobs, some moved back to their villages... Many even lost their lives. However, after demonetisation, all elections that took place in various states — Assembly or municipal polls — saw the BJP getting a decent number of seats.”
He further highlighted instances of alleged EVM tampering such as in Dhaulpur, where 18 polling booth machines were allegedly faulty, and in Bhind, where the vote would go to BJP no matter what button people pressed.
Maintaining that the technical glitch has not been explained, Bhardwaj said, “How is the BJP getting the benefit of this? It is not a coincidence that the BJP is in power at the Centre. Two questions arise — Can EVMS be tampered and have they been tampered?”
The party added a committee, comprising representatives from various political parties and the EC, must be set up to investigate the functioning of EVMS.
“A meeting by the EC has been called tomorrow at 10 am at the Constitution Club. We are saying that under the EC, put together a committee comprising representatives from various political parties as well as the commission. Our technical experts will provide assistance in identifying faulty EVMS and their possible tampering...whenever a button is pressed on the machine, details of the vote cast — including time and date — are stored. There is a difference of at least 20 seconds between casting of two votes. This is a lot of time for possible tampering,” Bhardwaj said.
Another suggestion by AAP was that each political party identify five polling centres where results seemed to be different from their expectations. “The EVMS used at these polling centres should be investigated by the committee...we have identified five in Punjab. We are in talks with other political parties on the subject,” the Greater Kailash MLA added.
Demanding that elections at any level in the country should not take place without VVPATS, Delhi convenor Gopal Rai said, “A huge conspiracy is taking place in the country at this point. There is an attempt to choke democracy. In order to restore people’s faith in democracy, votes cast at any 25 polling booths should be corroborated with paper slips from VVPAT machines.”
Submitting a memorandum to the EC, Rai asked that the commission allow “technical inspection of its EVMS by expert panels of various political parties to see if they can be hacked or not”. HOURS AFTER recording the statement of the complainant, Rahul Sharma, in connection with the alleged PWD scam, officers of the Anti-corruption Branch(acb)thursdayraidedthe PWD office situated on the 12th floor of Delhi Police Headquarters and seized several files. ACB officers are likely to serve a notice to PWD Minister Satyendar Jain in the coming days.
Sharma had filed a complaint against Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s late brother-in-law, Surender Bansal, over alleged irregularities in grant of contracts for roads and sewer lines in the capital between 2015 and 2016. Bansal was the proprietor of a construction firm. Three FIRS, including one against Bansal’s company, were registered on May 9 bytheacb.however,kejriwalhas not been named in the FIRS.
Sources in the ACB told The Indian Express that Sharma — who is the founder of Roads Anticorruption Organisation (RACO) — was called in to record his statement. “His statement was recorded by an inspector-rank officer. Senior officers were also present to clear their queries,” sources said. Sources added that Sharma also submitted a complaint to the ACB to conduct a probe in connection with Bansal’s “mysterious” death.
“During investigation, officers have found that fake bills were attached for materials that weren’t even supplied and some of the bills were of companies that do not exist or supply those materials.”
Sources said the ACB is likely to approach representatives of the three firms — Bansal’s Renu Constructions and those owned by Kamal Singh and Pawan Kumar — to record statements.
Submitting a memorandum to the EC, AAP asked that the commission allow “technical inspection of its EVMS by expert panels of various political parties”.