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EVM hacking claim: Kapil Sibal defends presence at London press conference

Kapil Sibal votes during the Presidential Election at Parliament House on July 19, 2012.

Kapil Sibal votes during the Presidential Election at Parliament House on July 19, 2012.   | Photo Credit: The Hindu

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Former Law Minister Kapil Sibal on Tuesday said he attended the London event, where a self-proclaimed cyber expert Syed Shuja made a sensational claim that Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in India are being hacked, at the personal invitation of London-based journalist Ashish Ray who was one of the organisers.

Mr. Sibal said the allegations concerned the survival of India’s democracy and demanded a probe.

“A Minister has made some statements which are irresponsible and are not befitting the statement of the office he holds,” Mr. Sibal said while addressing a press conference in his residence.

“There should be an inquiry in the charges he (Mr. Shuja) has made. The Supreme Court and the law says there should be an FIR. It is your responsibility, if someone is making allegations it is important to ascertain whether the charges are right or not. If the charges are wrong, take action against him. If they are right, then it is a very serious thing,” the former Minister said about the claims made by the cyber expert.

“It sounds like a science fiction story to me. But, it can be verified also,” he added.

Explaining his presence in London, he said, “When Ashish Ray said he has sent an invite to various political parties and he sent a personal invitation to me also. Since I know him, I told him that I would be there for some other work but I would certainly attend it and I attended it”.

Distancing from the controversy at its official briefing, the Congress adopted a cautious approach by stating that though the party wants the Eelection Commission of India to revert back to paper ballot eventually, for the 2019 elections, 50 per cent of the VVPAT machines need to be checked.

“There is some merit in this demand [asking for paper ballot] but in the interim until this issue is finally addressed which one day it has to be, at least 50% of the VVPAT slips must be randomly counted in every parliamentary constituency not 10%,” said Congress leader Anand Sharma.

“Only then the voters can be fully assured that the process has some sanctity and the credibility. It is important that the elections are not only free and fair but the voters must also believe it is free and fair,” he added.

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Printable version | Dec 15, 2019 4:55:33 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/evm-hacking-claim-kapil-sibal-demands-probe/article26060768.ece

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