NEWS / EVMS / HACKATHON
NEW DELHI: The season of elections is invariably a season of slug-fest and “exposes”. If the air was thick with allegations targeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP over the Rafale deal, it was topped this week with another seemingly explosive charge that the 2014 Lok Sabha polls were rigged by manipulations in electronic voting machines. The Election Commission has dismissed the charge as baseless.
Notably, however, the polls had been held when the Congress-led UPA was in power. Yet, since the BJP won the polls, the blame for the “manipulations” was sought to be put on the party or Modi in specific.
The allegation was made at a media event in London by a US cyber “expert” who claimed to have access to technology that runs the voting machines, and this created a stir. However, what didn’t escape notice was the presence there of former Union minister and senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal. What added to suspicions about the veracity of the allegations –which also claimed the AAP won the Delhi polls by the same manipulation of votes — was the timing. Just a month is left for the announcement of the Lok Sabha elections schedule.
The meet styled as Hackathon was organised by the India Journalist Association of London.
The expert, Syeed Shooja, who was at the media event as its star attraction, claims to be a US cyber expert. He also alleged that senior BJP leader from Maharashtra, Gopinath Munde, who died in a car crash in New Delhi on June 3, 2014 — a fortnight after Modi took over as PM on May 16, 2014 — had been killed as he knew about the alleged “EVM manipulations”. Munde was a prominent OBC face of the BJP in Maharashtra. , His daughter Pankaja Munde is a senior BJP functionary and rural development minister in the state BJP ministry.
Shooja also alleged that leftist journalist Gouri Lankesh, who was murdered in September 2017, in front of her house in Bengaluru, had information about the voting machine manipulations and that she had elicited some information in this regard from him as also filed an RTI plea for information relating to the quality of cables used in EVMs. She died soon after, he claimed.
What the cyber expert did not say was, why he kept quiet about these for so long.
He said that at one time, he and his associates thought about blackmailing the BJP leadership about the manipulations done on the EVMs. He along with some of his associates reached Hyderabad to discuss the matter with a senior BJP leader. They were shot dead by his security in front of the leader’s camp house, and then police said they were killed in an encounter in Kishanbaug area there, Shooja claimed. He said he had a providential escape then.
MUNDE’S NEPHEW DEMANDS PROBE
Gopinath Munde’s nephew, Dhananjay Munde, an NCP leader in Maharashtra, demanded a detailed probe into the death of his uncle. He made the call through a twitter posting, in which he said many people had suspicions about the mishap that killed Munde. — IHN-NN
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