Set up all-party panel to probe if EVMS can be hacked: AAP

The Indian Express - - THE CITY - ADITI VATSA

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.

Prem Nath Pandey

Sub­mit­ting a mem­o­ran­dum to the EC, AAP asked that the com­mis­sion al­low “tech­ni­cal in­spec­tion of its EVMS by ex­pert pan­els of var­i­ous po­lit­i­cal par­ties”.

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