A United States-based “cyber expert”, who claims he was part of a team that designed the electronic voting machines used in India, told a press conference in London on Monday that the 2014 General Elections had been rigged. He also claimed that BJP leader Gopinath Munde and journalist Gauri Lankesh had been murdered to cover up the alleged manipulation of the machines.
The Bharatiya Janata Party had won 282 seats in the 543-member Lok Sabha in the elections, the first time that a single party had secured a majority since 1984.
Syed Shuja, who addressed a press briefing in London via videoconferencing, claimed that he could demonstrate how the voting machines can be hacked, The Quint reported. Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal was also present at the conference.
Shuja, who claimed that he worked for Electronics Corporation of India Ltd from 2009 to 2014, said that he and his team realised in April 2014 that “signals were being emitted” from the machines used in the General Elections. The BJP hacked the machines using a modulator which transmits military-grade frequency, he alleged.
Shuja claimed that when he and his team went to meet BJP leaders in Hyderabad in 2014, hoping to question them about the supposed EVM tampering, they were shot at. Shuja claimed that he was injured, and his colleagues were killed. A communal incident was “arranged” in Hyderabad to cover up the incident, he alleged. After this, Shuja said he fled India and sought asylum in the United States.
The “cyber expert” made the sensational claim that BJP leader Gopinath Munde, who died in an accident in 2014, was murdered because he knew that the voting machines had been hacked during the Lok Sabha polls. Shuja asserted that National Investigation Agency officer Tanzil Ahmed, who he claimed was investigating Munde’s death, had decided to file a first information report noting that the BJP leader was murdered. However, Ahmed was shot dead before he could reportedly file the FIR, Shuja alleged.
Shuja claimed that the Election Commission of India had been asked to send representatives to the press briefing, but no member of the poll body was present. The commission has denied that the machines can be hacked.
The “cyber expert” asserted that his team had also managed to intercept the “signals” emanating from the EVMs during the 2015 Delhi elections. Had it not been for this, the BJP would have won these polls, he claimed. The Aam Aadmi Party won 67 of 70 seats in that election.
The BJP could have won the recently held Assembly polls in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh if his team had not “intercepted the signals” coming from the machines, Shuja added. The Congress won in a landslide in Chhattisgarh and also formed the government in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.
‘Other parties also approached me’
The “cyber expert” claimed that the Congress, the Aam Aadmi Party, the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party have also expressed interest in hacking voting machines. “Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party asked if they can do anything [to hack the machines],” he alleged. “We contacted Congress, we thought we could help them. AAP wanted to hack to show the world that EVMs are hackable.”
Shuja said that he had met a “famous Indian journalist” and told him “the whole story” about EVM rigging. The “cyber expert” said that this journalist “shouts every night” during television debates. However, the journalist did not run the story. Shuja said he then approached journalist Gauri Lankesh, who agreed to write the story, but was murdered soon after.
Several incidents of malfunctioning voting machines were reported during the Assembly elections in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan last year. According to Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora, less than 1% of the machines used during the polls malfunctioned. There is a difference between malfunctioning machines and tampering with them, he had added last month.