EVM theft case takes alien turn

Out of the box

EVM theft case takes alien turn

A top official said on Thursday there could be a larger “conspiracy angle”to discredit the country’s election process and this was being probed thoroughly after the arrest of 42-year-old Hari Prasad in Hyderabad last Saturday in the EVM theft case. The police remand of Prasad was extended by a Mumbai court by another two days till Saturday.

“There seems to be a bigger picture than what it looked like initially. We are conducting a through probe to find out who was actually behind it, why it has been done and whether there is a conspiracy to discredit India’s election process,” the official said in New Delhi.
A demand was also made in Parliament for an all-party meeting to discuss the “vulnerability”of EVMs in elections.

An official said investigators have found that two Americans and one Dutch national had helped Prasad, technical coordinator of VeTA (Citizens for Verifiability, Transparency and Accountability in Elections), to show how the machine can be tampered with.
Besides, it is suspected that the EVM might have been smuggled out of India, possibly to an European country.

The investigators are also trying to find out whether any domestic or foreign private corporate was indirectly involved in the theft case to make a clone as the EVMs are manufactured only by two government undertakings — Bharat Electronics Limited and the Electronics Corporation of India. Both these organisations also export EVMs to a few countries.

Prasad, who hails from Hyderabad, was arrested for allegedly stealing an EVM from the Mumbai Collector’s office.

The arrest of Prasad also had political overtones with TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu batting for him.

Naidu described as “unfortunate” the arrest and demanded Prasad’s release immediately.

Prasad said he did not steal the EVM, which was given to him by two persons who took it back within two days.

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