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Wednesday 19 February 2020

Truth of Syed Shuja who claimed 2014 poll was rigged by hacking EVMs

The self-styled cyber expert, who alleged that the 2014 general election was 'rigged', was never an employee of the ECIL that manufactures EVM units for Indian elections, the PSU said

New Delhi: A day after a self-proclaimed cyber expert, who goes by the name of Syed Shuja, alleged that EVMs can be hacked and the 2014 Lok Sabha polls were rigged, the Election Commission on Tuesday filed a complaint with the Delhi Police, asking it to register an FIR against him for his claims which, it said, can “create fear” in the minds of the public.

In its complaint to the Deputy Commissioner of Police (New Delhi District), the poll panel asked the police to investigate the matter “promptly” for violation of certain sections of the Indian Penal Code dealing with spreading rumour to alarm the public and other provisions of related laws.

“Through media reports, it has come to the notice of the Commission that allegedly one Mr Syed Shuja, on 21 January in London… claimed that he was part of the EVM design team and he can hack the EVM used in elections in India. The act of Mr Shuja is violative of IPC, particularly its section 505 (1) (b),” the EC said.

The section deals with “statements conducing to public mischief” and says that “whoever makes, publishes or circulates any statement, rumour or report, with intent to cause, or which is likely to cause, fear or alarm to the public, or to any section of the public whereby any person may be induced to commit an offence against the State or against the public tranquillity” will be punished with imprisonment “which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both”.

When contacted, DCP (New Delhi) Madhur Verma said, “legal action will be taken” on EC’s complaint.

Shuja had on Monday claimed at an event in London that the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) can be tampered with and that the 2014 Lok Sabha elections were rigged.

EC said it has been conducting Lok Sabha and assembly polls using EVMs for long and the Supreme Court and various high courts have endorsed the use of the machines through their judgments.

“On 3rd June 2017, when a few political parties raised some issues regarding use of EVMs, ECI organised an open challenge for all to come forward and take an attempt to demonstrate any vulnerability of the EVMs. Nobody turned up…,” the EC letter read.

After Shuja made his claims, the EC on Monday asserted that it firmly stands by the “empirical facts about foolproof nature of ECI EVMs” used in elections in India.

Addressing a press conference in London via Skype, Shuja had claimed he fled India in 2014 because he felt threatened in the country after the killing of some of his team members.

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 Shuja appeared on screen through Skype, his face was masked.

ECIL says ‘cyber expert’ was never its employee

Syed Shuja was never an employee of the Electronic Corporation of India Ltd (ECIL) as claimed by him, the public sector undertaking said on Tuesday.

Addressing a press conference in London via Skype, the man, identified as Syed Shuja, had on Monday claimed that the 2014 general election was rigged through the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs).

The EVMs are designed and developed by the ECIL. The Election Commission has already rejected the charges and asked the Delhi Police to lodge an FIR against the self-proclaimed cyber expert.

Shuja had also claimed he was part of a team at the ECIL.

In a letter to Deputy Election Commissioner Sudeep Jain, the ECIL said that Syed Shuja has neither been in the rolls of the ECIL as a regular employee nor was he in any way associated in the design and development of EVMs between 2009 to 2014.

“The records of this company have been verified and it is found that Mr Syed Shuja has neither been in the rolls of ECIL as a regular employee nor was he in any way associated in the design and development of EVMs in ECIL produced between 2009 to 2014,” the letter by ECIL chairman and managing director Rear Adm. (retd) Sanjay Chaudey said.

Giriraj Singh wonders if Shuja is affiliated to ISI or ISIS

Attacking the Congress over claims of hacking of EVMs made at a London press conference, Union minister Giriraj Singh Tuesday wondered if Syed Shuja, who levelled the allegations, was affiliated to ISI or terrorist organisation ISIS.

“It is scary that the agenda of Pakistan and China was sponsored and supervised by a top Congress leader. Once out of power, the Congress wants to kill democracy in the country. We have seen it earlier during the Emergency,” Singh said in a tweet.

The BJP leader said Shuja’s claim and the Congress’s “EVM drama” reminds him of a statement of Sitaram Kesri, the late Congress chief, that “one family will destroy India”.

Can Shuja, who claims to be a cyber expert, be affiliated to ISI, Pakistani spy agency, or ISIS with an aim to weaken democracy in India, he asked.

A day after the self-proclaimed cyber expert alleged that the BJP had won 2014 general election by rigging Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), the ruling party described the event a “Congress-sponsored conspiracy” designed to “defame” Indian democracy and its Election Commission.

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