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).
It said there are rigorous standard operating procedures "meticulously observed" at all stages under the supervision of a committee of technical experts constituted in 2010.
Shortly after the claim was made in London, the Election Commission issued a statement saying it firmly stands by the empirical facts about fool-proof stature of ECI EVMs deployed in India. "Yes, every vote counts", her tweet read. The event comes close on the heels of Lok Sabha Elections 2019 to be held in the country in April.
Shuja, who created a flutter, also alleged that other than the BJP, the SP, BSP, AAP and Congress, too, are involved in the rigging of the EVMs. What we have seen is a hacking horror show organised by the Congress ahead of its defeat in Lok Sabha polls.
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.
Indian Journalists' Association (Europe) has come into contact with a United States-based cyber expert who promises to demonstrate on record how sabotage of elections through cyber-attacks is possible and how this is being done. When the possibility of EVMs being hacked is raised, he said the commission invariably presents 14 prototypes that he and his team had built at ECIL. He also alleged that the Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Delhi election results were rigged in 2014.
This is both a transmitter and a receiver, which works on very-low radio frequency bandwidth between 7Hz and 390Hz that Shuja claims is military-grade radio frequency spectrum.
Speaking to journalists in London through Skype from the US, Shuja made several allegations but failed to provide any evidence to back them. Those specific EVMs, he said, can not be hacked by bluetooth or wi-fi. There was no immediate reaction from the BJP.
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. Munde died in a road accident in New Delhi weeks after the BJP won the 2014 elections.
The Election Commission and political parties were invited to be at the press meet but only Congress leader Kapil Sibal attended the event, he added.
According to Shuja, he and his team prevented EVMs being hacked during the 2015 elections to the Delhi assembly, when AAP won a landslide majority.
The BJP rubbished Shuja's claims.
Shuja said some of his team members were killed and he was also allegedly attacked but survived.