Fact Check

How Every Claim of ‘EVM Hacker’ Falls Flat Against the Facts

EVM

The EVM hackathon in London organized by the so-called Indian Journalists’ Association (Europe) has predictably proved to be a damp squib. In an exercise that was aimed at raising a question mark on the very process of popular democracy that our country has enjoyed so far, the presence of senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal at the event clearly points to the Congress spin machine working overtime. That the person at the centre of it all, a Mr Syed Shuja had no evidence to back up his claims illustrates the motivated nature of the whole thing. Based on the Election Commission’s complaint, Delhi Police have already registered FIR against the said individual.

Keeping all this in mind, it is imperative that we counter each of those claims with facts on the ground.

Claim No. 1

He has claimed to have designed the EVMs in India.

The Fact

The EVMs are designed not by an individual but various agencies of the government including Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL) and Electronic Corporations of India Ltd (ECIL).

Claim No. 2

That the EVMs can be hacked into through a graphite-based transmitter and can communicate with one another at a military grade frequency and are therefore prone to tampering.

The Fact

The programme (software) used in EVMs is burnt into a One Time Programmable (OTP)/Masked chip which can neither be overwritten nor altered in any way. The principles of randomisation inherent in the machines rule out any external manipulation.

Claim No. 3

Relatedly, that they stopped the transmission in Delhi assembly elections in 2015 through technology thereby ensuring the AAP’s win in the polls

The Fact

Even if there was transmission and interception, one can’t stop the flow of the transmission in any way and goes against the fundamental laws of signaling.

Claim No. 4

Gopinath Munde had died on account of his being privy to the information that the 2014 polls had been won due to hacking.

The Fact

Mr Munde had died in a road accident as established by subsequent police investigation.

Claim No. 5

That the NIA had investigated the Gopinath Munde case and the officer who was investigating the case was killed precisely because of that investigation.

The Fact

It was the CBI and not the NIA which had actually investigated the Munde death case.

Claim No. 6

The person claims to be associated with the Foreign Press Association which was incidentally the co-organiser of the event.

The Fact

The same FPA has strongly refuted Mr Shuja’s claims saying that those claims are uncorroborated and unsubstantiated.

Thus an objective examination of facts contradicts each of those claims made by Mr Shuja. As a matter of fact, the political angle comes out clearly as outlined below.

The political slant

A more pertinent question would be: why the hackathon now? Firstly, the timing of it all barely months away surely makes it a suspect in the eyes of the common people. Taking a cue from the popular adage if you can’t fight them, join them, the Congress has redesigned it creatively as If you can’t fight them, fault them. As there is growing realization of an inevitable electoral drubbing in 2019, the principal opposition party has taken the desperate route of discrediting the democratic process itself. By seeking to create a bogey around the EVMs, it is trying to divert attention from its rapidly losing face and credibility in the eyes of the common people. When senior leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi had said, “I can’t vouch for them, I can’t deny it either”, he and his party forget that the 2004 Lok Sabha elections that they won so overwhelmingly were conducted entirely on EVMs. We all know how voting through paper votes for many years had made the whole election process susceptible to widespread rigging, booth capturing and other malpractices, a period during which Congress and its allied parties had emerged victorious in most cases.

Election Commission’s position

However, the authority finally responsible for conducting free and fair elections in the country, namely, the Election Commission has called the event a ‘motivated slugfest’. Time and again, the Commission has asserted that the EVMs are absolutely tamper-proof. When in a highly publicized exercise, the Commission had thrown out an open challenge for any person or institution to hack the EVMs in full public view in 2017, none could prove the Commission wrong. The True Picture has already reported how the same parties which had raised doubts on the EVMs had declined to participate in that challenge. Moreover, several high courts in various cases have through their verdicts upheld the technological validity of the EVMs.

Now that the Election Commission has pledged to take the Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) route for the entire 2019 polls, there is no reason for anybody to doubt the ‘technological impartiality’ of the EVMs. Remember machines don’t lie, men lie.

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