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Syed Shuja accuses BJP IT cell of using ‘military-grade’ tech to tamper with EVMs but fails to hack EVM himself.

New Delhi: Months before the Lok Sabha elections, a masked man who claimed to be a US-based cyber expert alleged that every Indian election since 2014, irrespective of its outcome, had been rigged by tampering with electronic voting machines (EVMs).

The man, who said his name was Syed Shuja and claimed to have been involved in designing EVMs in India between 2009 and 2014, also made a series of other sensational and fantastical allegations:

  • BJP tech experts rigged the 2014 Lok Sabha elections with the help of Reliance Jio.
  • The Congress, BSP, SP and AAP, among others, had approached him to rig elections in their favour.
  • His team consisting of several Muslims was shot dead after it sought to confront a BJP leader in Hyderabad with the information of tampering.
  • Union minister and senior BJP leader Gopinath Munde was murdered by his own party after he found out about the EVM tampering.

But Shuja, who addressed journalists in London via video conference, and hid his face behind a cloth in a dimly lit room, failed to deliver what he had set out to show — a demonstration of how EVMs could be tampered with.

The London press conference was organised by the Indian Journalists’ Association (Europe) and the Foreign Press Association, London. The video of the event showed senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal standing in a corner of the room, sparking allegations that he and his party were behind it.

The Election Commission of India (EC) trashed the press conference, calling it “a motivated slugfest”, and reiterated that the EVMs are fool-proof.

The BJP rubbished Shuja’s claims. The Congress said it had nothing to do with the press conference but sought a probe into Shuja’s allegations.

Election Commission stands by EVMs

“Whereas the ECI has been wary of becoming a party to this motivated slugfest, ECI firmly stands by the empirical facts about fool-proof nature of ECI EVMs deployed in elections in India,” the Election Commision said in a press statement.

“It is being separately examined as to what legal action can and should be taken in the matter.”

Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa told ThePrint that the commission has taken all precautions and necessary steps to ensure full security of the EVMs it uses for Indian elections.

Shuja claimed he was an employee of Hyderabad-headquartered Electronic Corporation of India Ltd (ECIL) between 2009 and 2014. He alleged that those responsible for bringing EVMs to his location in the US for the hacking demonstration had been paid off and so he could not show how EVMs could be hacked.

He said he sought political asylum in the US after he was attacked in India in May 2014.


Also read: Four-member committee of oppn leaders formed to look into EVM manipulation


‘BJP IT experts rigged 2014 polls’

Shuja, who claimed that he was part of a team which designed the EVMs used in the 2014 elections, said ECIL explicitly asked him and his team if the EVMs were hackable, and to demonstrate how it could be done. This, ECIL did on the directions of the Election Commission, he alleged.

While he and his team “did not buckle under pressure”, the “BJP’s IT guys”, he said, figured out a way to use a modulator that transmits military-grade frequency — thereby rigging the 2014 elections. This, he alleged, was done with the help of Reliance Jio, which, he claimed, has the network required to transmit the data used for rigging.

Although he maintained that the BJP was the biggest beneficiary of the EVM tampering, he added that all other parties including the AAP, Congress, BSP and the SP, among others, approached him to rig elections in their favour.

If Shuja, who says, the ECIL will “deny his existence”, is to be believed, no election in India since 2014 has been held without rigging. While the elections BJP won were won because of the data transmission through hacking, other parties won when “his team” intercepted the BJP transmission, he claimed.

He also claimed that when his team sought to confront a BJP leader in Hyderabad with the information of tampering, the entire team — which he claimed consisted of several Muslims – was shot dead.

While Shuja too was allegedly shot in the attack, he managed to survive and seek asylum in the US. The entire episode was later made to appear to be an incident of communal violence, he said.

Shuja went on to allege that senior BJP leader Gopinath Munde knew about the EVMs being hacked and was then allegedly “murdered” by his own party in order to stop him from flagging the issue.


Also read: Chief Election Commissioner claims EVMs are tamper proof


BJP calls it ‘hacking horror show’

Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi rubbished the claims and alluded to the presence of Sibal at the press conference. “The Congress has a lot of freelancers, who sometimes reach even Pakistan to take help for removing Modiji,” Naqvi said. “They are making a hacking horror show of their possible defeat in the upcoming elections.”

Senior Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi said the party had nothing to do with the press conference.

“We haven’t organised it. We neither accept nor deny the charges made in the press conference. We also don’t support rubbishing the facts that have emerged. There needs to be a fair trial in the matter as people have a doubt on EVMs,” Singhvi said.

“Sibal went there as he was invited. He went there in his personal capacity, he wasn’t representing the party,” he added.

– with inputs from Neelam Pandey

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12 Comments Share Your Views

12 COMMENTS

  1. Take note of the contents of so called press conference and get them thoroughly verified. It seems he had mentioned some guest house and people were killed. It is not a easy fiction . This can be verified.And this is high time this issue of tampering should be solved or else the confidence in our system will be eroded
    In latest Telangana elections ,it seems there was mismatch between the votes polled and counted. Pl verify these issues in order to establish confidence in the system

  2. 1. Individuals like Syed Shuja deserve to be ignored. 2. When one, with a perverse mind and ideology, can go to any extent to prove that electronic voting machine (EVM), can be manipulated. 3. Comparisons with election processes in other countries are simply out of context with reality in our country. 4. In past the Election Commission of India (ECI) had given many an opportunity to anyone to prove that EVM can be hacked. Fact is that not one individual came forward and submitted any proof. Strangely someone wishes to hack an EVM in London to prove that EVM can be manipulated in India! 5. Opposition parties are just opposing use of EVM for a silly reason- that it is possible for BJP to hack EVMs. If BJP governments in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan & Chhattisgarh could manipulate EVMs, BJP would have handsomely won recently held State Assembly elections in these States. 6. We, citizen-voters of this vast country must oppose the opposition parties’ attempt to go back and use ballot papers which are far more unsafe in our country.

  3. Why are credible news outlets publishing such unsubstantiated claims which by all accounts seems like a farce. We then expect the ECI to respond to these baseless claims. What happened when the ECI conducted an open challenge to hack – hardly anyone turned up. Now we are getting calls for EVMs to go! If anything, the elections in India with the EVMs are by far the most transparent and efficient for such a large country.
    We should be questioning the people who make these claims and other mainstream politicians who lend support to these claims.

  4. The congress dirty tricks department, under the able leadership of Kapil Sibal, dug deep into its arsenal and came up with a dud. The congress followers in the media are following their part of the script by giving it headline coverage. What an amateur comedy show!

  5. Sounds like the plot of a C grade film. 2. The ECI must conclusively lay this controversy to rest, talk to all important political parties, deal with any genuine doubts and fears that they entertain. Paper ballots were clumsy, time consuming, EVMs make life easier and results can be declared more quickly. However, if there are failings in the machines, it would be a small price to pay to revert to the earlier system. The very thought that the result of the election can be gamed chills the blood.

  6. What else can you express from the Khangress party and it’s Man Friday Kapil Sibal. We are still recovering from his Zero loss theory in the 2G scam.

  7. I wouldn’t believe this guy. His penultimate point is about confronting some BJP leader in Hyderabad. Now, BJP was never powerful in Hyderabad; if such a thing did happen there which would portray the party in a shady situation, why did it not get blown up into a full scandal, and that too very quickly? His last point is about Gopinath Monde. I remember he died in an early morning road accident; another car hit his car at high speed at a crossing, and the offending driver HIMSELF informed the police, or something like that.

    I personally believe that EVMs can be fiddled with — not “hacked”. Hacking at least to me suggests some high funda stuff: breaking the “code” by sophisticated software methods etc. In my opinion, EVM is an elementary kind of machine, and it can be made to malfunction by elementary trickery. I guess it has a ROM chip in which some permanent program is stored, by which a vote counter advances by 1 every time the corresponding button is pressed. A faulty program will advance one particular vote counter every time, no matter which button is pressed. Such a faulty ROM chip can be inserted right at the EVM manufacturer’s place, or at their storage place. This chip is a dumb thing; ROM is an abbreviation for “Read Only Memory”. Once it is programmed in a certain fashion at the factory, no one can “write” anything new into it. And so on and so forth.

  8. What a foolish exercise. Indian EVMs are standalone machines. Unless one opens the machine and tampers with mother board one cannot rig voting. It is next to impossible to change mother boards of so many machines in a short time and adjust randomness. If the hacker Syed Shuja could make AAP win in Delhi, why he did not do the same in UP? Did he help congress win Punjab, Chattisgarh and Rajastjan? Mr Munde was a BJP minister, why would he raise a flag if he won by rigging? Mr Shuja appears to be mudding water before election at the behest of political opponents of BJP. It is much easier to stuff ballot boxes in remote areas using muscle men. Certain parties are adept at it. Such hype and such an exercise in futility.

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