HW English

TDP defends EVM theft accused, says EC ‘trying to avoid situation’

Election Commission

New Delhi | The TDP on Sunday alleged that the Election Commission was trying to avoid the issue of EVM malfunctioning by objecting to the presence of a member in a Chandrababu Naidu-led delegation that had met officials of the poll body Saturday.

The EC had objected to security researcher Hari Prasad Vemuru’s presence in the delegation, which took up the matter of EVM malfunctioning with Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora. Vemuru was “involved in the alleged theft of EVMs in 2010”.

The TDP said no charge sheet was filed against Vemuru in the last nine years.

It claimed that the EC had invited Vemuru to participate in the first field trial of VVPATs in Delhi on July 21, 2011.

He had also attended several other meetings of the EC in the last nine years, the party claimed.

Instead of focusing on the issue, the poll panel is “trying to avoid addressing the situation”, it alleged.

In a letter to the legal cell of the TDP, the EC on Saturday said, “When the discussion came to the issue of EVMs and their functioning, one of the delegates repeatedly raised various technical issues and said he has the requisite technical expertise in the field.”

He was called for a detailed discussion with Sudeep Jain, the Deputy Election Commissioner in-charge of EVMs. Later, “it turned out that he was Hari Prasad, who was involved in the alleged theft of EVMs in 2010” and has a criminal case registered against him, the EC had alleged.

Therefore, it was not found appropriate to have an interaction with him, the poll body had said.

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