The cyber expert also claimed that BJP leader Gopinath Munde was “killed because he was aware of EVM hacking in the 2014 elections.” He, however, provided no proof to back up his allegations.
London: A cyber expert, identified as Syed Shuja who is seeking political asylum in the US, claimed on Monday that the 2014 elections were "rigged" through the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), which, he claims, can be hacked.
The Election Commission of India has denied the charge.
Addressing a press conference in London via Skype, Syed Shuja said he fled India in 2014 because he felt threatened in the country after his team members were killed.
The cyber expert also claimed that BJP leader Gopinath Munde was "killed because he was aware of EVM hacking in the 2014 elections."
He, however, provided no proof to back up his allegations.
Syed Shuja also claimed that NIA officer Tanzil Ahmed, who was investigating Munde's death, was planning to file an FIR noting that the BJP leader had been murdered, but was himself killed.
He claimed to be a part of the team at Electronic Corporation of India Ltd (ECIL), which designed and developed the EVMs.
He claimed he could demonstrate how the voting machines can be hacked. He claimed that major political parties, including the Bharatiya Janata Party, Congress, Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party and Aam Aadmi Party, were involved in the rigging of voting machines.
“SP and BSP contacted my ‘team members’ to help them, while AAP asked to show it how EVMs could be rigged,” Shuja had said.
Aam Aadmi Party spokesperson Saurabh Bhardwaj said the party had contacted “many persons” to demonstrate that electronic voting machines could be hacked but denied that Shuja was one of them. “No, we did not contact him,” Bhardwaj said.
A presentation was organised by the European chapter of the Indian Journalists’ Association in London where Shuja was brought in on a video call with a room full of reporters, including numerous Indian news organisations such as India Today, Anandabazar Patrika, Times Now and The Quint. Shuja was supposed to demonstrate live how EVMs can be hacked but was brought in on video call since he claims he was attacked four days ago.
According to The Quint, Shuja alleged that he and his team were instructed by ECIL to find out whether EVMs could be hacked and to find out how to do this. His second claim was that his team was shot and killed in a Hyderabad suburb in April 2014 during the elections, where they went to meet a BJP leader after realising that low-frequency signals were being emitted from EVMs. Shuja and his team had tried to set up a meeting with BJP leaders with the intent of blackmailing the ruling party with what they knew, and when they went to visit the leader’s house, they were shot and killed. Shuja too was allegedly shot but survived.
Shuja further alleged that during the Delhi state elections in 2015, people he was currently working with to "save Indian democracy" who were located in India managed to “intercept the transmission” which resulted in the AAP winning 67 out of 70 seats. “Otherwise the BJP would have swept,” he claimed. Referring to the recently conducted state elections in which the BJP lost the Hindi heartland, Shuja also claimed that if his people had not intercepted the BJP attempts to hack the transmission in Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, the party would have won those states too.
Shuja didn't stop here. He claimed he had narrated the entire story of EVM rigging to a “famous Indian journalist who shouts on TV every night” but nothing came out of it even though the journalist had promised to tell his story. He claimed that Gauri Lankesh had agreed to run the story for him but she too was killed. “She was waiting to run the story, but she was murdered.”
Shuja also claimed that Reliance Jio was the one who had helped the BJP get the low-frequency signals to hack EVMs. When a reporter asked Shuja that since Reliance Jio was not around in 2014, who exactly was it who had helped the BJP with technology for these frequency hacks, Shuja went on to suggest the reporter ask that question to Kapil Sibal since "he was the one who actually gave approval..."
“Reliance Communications have the network to transmit the data, BJP is the beneficiary. There are nine places in India where there are facilities. The employees don’t know that they are tampering with EVMs. They think they are doing data entry,” alleged Shuja, according to The Quint’s live blog report.
The Election Commission reacted to the proceedings, calling it a "motivated slugfest” and is currently mulling legal action.
“It has come to our notice that an event claiming to demonstrate EVMs used by ECI can be tampered with, has been organised in London. ECI has been wary of becoming a party to this motivated slugfest and stands by empirical facts about the foolproof nature of ECI EVMs,” the Election Commission said.
The commission further said EVMs used in Indian elections were manufactured by Bharat Electronics and Electronics Corporation of India under “very strict supervisory and security conditions”.