A man claiming to be a cyber expert and a former employee of the Electronic Corporation of India Ltd on Monday made a series of unsubstantiated allegations about the vulnerability of electronic voting machines used in India, including in the 2014 general election. The man, named as Syed Shuja of Hyderabad origin, appeared at a news conference through Skype. He said he was based in the United States, where he got political asylum after fleeing India due to threats to his life and allegedly in a serious medical condition in 2014. According to Shuja, who said he also went by other names, 200 seats in the 2014 elections that would have been won by the Congress had been rigged in favour of the Bharatiya Janata Party by manipulating data transmission through what he called ‘military-grade modulators’ installed in various parts of the country.
The event, organised by the Indian Journalists Association and the Foreign Press Association, was supposed to witness a live demonstration of EVMs being hacked, but Shuja claimed he had been attacked recently, which explained his absence in London, and individuals who were to bring the EVMs from India had been bought off.
Shuja went on to allege that senior BJP leader and former Union minister Gopinath Munde had been murdered because he was about to expose the malpractice when he did not get what he wanted when the Narendra Modi government was formed. He also alleged that journalist Gauri Lankesh was killed because she was about to publish details of the EVMs being hacked.
The brunt of Shuja’s allegations was pointed at the BJP, but he claimed that he had been approached by various parties, including the Congress, Aam Aadmi Party, Samajwadi Party and regional parties had approached him to help hack EVMs during elections.