EVM Hacking Row: All you need to know about claims made by hacker Syed Shuja

Ahead of 2019 Lok Sabha elections, a US-based self-claimed cyber expert Syed Shuja said the 2014 Lok Sabha elections were “rigged” and even claimed that BJP leader Gopinath Munde was “killed” as he knew about the “hacking” of  Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), a claim debunked by the Election Commission of India.

It didn’t take time for the Election Commission to react. It firmly rejected claims by Syed Shuja that the 2014 elections were rigged, saying it was examining legal action over the “motivated slugfest”. While the Congress has demanded probe into these allegations, the BJP has dubbed them a “Congress-sponsored conspiracy” designed to “defame” Indian democracy and its Election Commission. NCP leader Dhananjay Munde has also demanded a probe either by the R&AW or a Supreme Court judge into the death of his uncle and former Union minister Gopinath Munde. So here’s a look at what exactly did the self-proclaimed US-based Indian cyber expert revealed:

  • 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.
  • Making the allegations without proof months before the Lok Sabha polls at an event here organised by Indian Journalists’ Association (Europe), Shuja claimed he can demonstrate how machines can be hacked.
  • Shuja said some of his team members were killed and he was also allegedly attacked but survived. Although he appeared on screen through Skype, his face was masked.
  • “It is not possible to hack a machine using Bluetooth. A graphite-based transmitter is required to get into an EVM. The transmitters were used in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Gopinath Munde was murdered as he knew about the hacking in EVMs,” he said in an interaction through tele-conferencing from the US.
  • Shuja, who claims to be part of the team that designed EVMs used in India, alleged that Congress lost 210 seats in 2014 general election “due to tampering.”
  • He claimed a private company had helped the BJP to get low frequency signals to hack EVMs and added that Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party and the AAP had approached him to know if EVMs could be hacked.
  • 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.
  • Shuja claimed that someone was “pinging” the EVMs to manipulate data. He added that successive chief election commissioners have told him that EVMs cannot communicate wirelessly. “However, our technology allows you to do it using a modulator at low frequency at 7hz. This is a military grade frequency.”
  • Shuja also alleged that other than the BJP, the SP, BSP, AAP and Congress too are involved in rigging of the EVMs.
  • “In Delhi state elections in 2015, we managed to intercept the transmission, resulting in the AAP winning 67 out of 70 seats. Otherwise the BJP would have swept,” he claimed.
  • The Shuja also alleged that the EVMs were hacked by the BJP using a modulator which transmits military-grade frequency.
  • He said the BJP would have won the recent Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh Assembly elections if his team hadn’t intercepted the alleged attempts by the saffron party to hack the “transmissions” in these states.
  • Rejecting the outlandish and explosive claims, the Election Commission of India(ECI) asserted that it firmly stands by the ‘foolproof nature’ of its machines even as it said it is examining as to what legal action “can and should” be taken in the matter.
  • The poll panel reiterated that the EVMs used by it are manufactured by Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) and Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL) under “very strict” supervisory and security conditions.
  • Speaking at the event in London, Shuja claimed that he worked for the ECIL from 2009-2014. Shuja said that he was part of a team which designed the EVMs used in the 2014 elections.
  • “The 2014 general elections were rigged,” he claimed. He also alleged that the Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Delhi election results were rigged during the elections.
  • The cyber expert also claimed that BJP leader and union minister Gopinath Munde was “killed” because he was aware of EVM hacking in 2014 general elections.
  • Shuja also claimed the NIA officer investigating Munde’s death, Tanzil Ahmed, was planning to file an FIR noting he had been murdered, but was himself killed.
  • He said he met a prominent Indian journalist and told him the whole story about the EVM rigging.
  • The Election Commission and political parties were invited to be at press meet but only Congress leader Kapil Sibal attended the event, he added.

(Inputs from Agencies)

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