AAP denies hacker’s claim that it contacted him for hacking EVMs

New Delhi: The AAP on Monday rejected the claim of a self-proclaimed cyber expert that he was contacted by the party to know about hacking of electronic voting machines (EVMs), but welcomed his allegation that EVMs could be “tampered”.

AAP MLA and party spokesperson Saurabh Bhardwaj, who demonstrated “tampering” of a replica of an electronic voting machine in the Delhi Assembly in 2017, said the party did not contact the cyber expert. Addressing a press conference in London via Skype, the man, identified as Syed Shuja, said he fled India in 2014 because he felt threatened in the country after the killing of some of his team members. Although he appeared on screen through Skype, his face was masked.

Shuja, who said he is seeking political asylum in the US, claimed the telecom giant Reliance Jio helped the BJP to get low frequency signals to hack the EVMs. He provided no proof to back up his claim. However, Jio was not in operation in 2014 and had launched its services in September 2016. Shuja, who created a flutter, also alleged that other than the BJP, the SP, BSP, AAP and Congress too are involved in rigging of the EVMs. There was no immediate reaction from any of these parties.

He was presented at the press conference held under the aegis of the  Indian Journalists’ Association (Europe). Bhardwaj said that AAP was in contact with “many persons” to demonstrate that EVMs could be “hacked” but denied Shuja was one of them. “No, we did not contact him,” he said when asked about Shuja’s claim.

AAP has always been saying that EVMs can be “tampered” like any other electronic device, Bhardwaj said, “We reiterate that EVMs in the current form are prone to tampering and is a serious threat to the elections and independence of India.” Most of the advanced countries in the world have discontinued the use of EVMs after reports of their tampering, he said. AAP reiterates that 25 per cent of EVMs should be randomly selected for verifying results with voter verifiable paper audit trails(VVPAT). If government cannot implement 100 per cent VVPAT, then elections should be conducted using paper ballot, he added.

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