The Election Commission of India has written to the Delhi Police, asking that a case be lodged against a London-based hacker who, during a so-called hackathon yesterday, claimed the Electronic Voting Machines used for elections in India can be tampered with.
The unsubstantiated claims of the hacker -- who calls himself Syed Shuja -- come as the united opposition is sharpening their campaign against Electronic Voting Machines and pushing for a return to ballot papers ahead of the coming Lok Sabha elections.
The matter has become a full-scale political controversy, with the ruling BJP accusing the Congress of orchestrating it.
Soon after the hacker's press conference yesterday, the Election Commission called it a "motivated slugfest' and said they would consider legal action against him.
In its letter to the police, the Commission today said the man has broken the laws concerning "public mischief". "Accordingly you are requested to lodge an FIR and investigate the matter promptly," the letter addressed to the Delhi Police read.
"EVMs with adequate safeguards under the control of the ECI has been lauded the world over. Hon'ble Supreme Court and various Hon'ble High Courts have also endorsed the use of EVMs in the elections through various judgments," the Commission said.
It also pointed out that when opposition parties alleged tampering of the machines last year, the Commission had issued an open challenge for anyone to "come forward and take an attempt to demonstrate the vulnerability of the EVMs", but "nobody turned up for demonstrations".
Dr Rajat Moona, the top technical expert with the Commission, had told NDTV that EVMs are "stand-alone machines which have absolutely no capability of transmitting or receiving any data through any wireless communication of any sort", which is why they are "tamper proof".
The hacker had claimed that while it was not possible to hack individual EVMs, since they contain a pre-bluetooth era old-fashioned chip, it was possible to tweak them with the help of algorithms. "All you needed was a machine which could transmit at very low frequencies... we acquired a graphite-based transmitter," he had said.
The Electronic Corporation of India Limited has denied Syed Shuja's claim that he worked with the organisation.
A press release from the ECIL said: "It is certified from the records of ECIL Company that Mr Syed Shuja has neither been on the rolls of ECIL as a regular employee nor was he in any way associated in the design and deployment of EVMs in ECIL produced between 2009 to 2014."
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