A day after a self-proclaimed cyber expert set off a major political row with BJP and Congress trading charges against each other, the Election Commission Tuesday requested Delhi Police to lodge an FIR and investigate the matter “promptly” for his claims which, it said, can “create fear” in the minds of the public.
In its letter, the poll watchdog said Syed Shuja has allegedly violated section 505 (1) of the IPC pertaining to spreading rumours which creates panic. “Through media reports, it has come to the notice of the commission that allegedly one Mr Syed Shuja claimed (at the event in London) that he was part of the EVM design team and he can hack the EVMs used in elections in India,” the EC said.
On Monday, Shuja, at an event in London, alleged that the BJP had secured the landslide victory in 2014 by hacking into Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs). Following the claims, the BJP launched a blistering attack on the Congress and said it has already started looking for an “alibi” for its certain loss in the coming Lok Sabha polls.
Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the Indian Journalists’ Association, which had organised the conference, is headed by Ashis Ray who, he claimed, is a “committed Congressman” and has been singing paeans in support of Congress president Rahul Gandhi.
Prasad also questioned the presence of Congress leader Kapil Sibal at the event and described it a Congress-scripted exercise. “What was Sibal doing there? In what capacity was he present? My charge is that he was there to monitor the event for the Congress. It was a Congress-sponsored conspiracy designed to defame Indian democracy and its Election Commission,” Prasad said.
Facing criticism from the BJP, Sibal defended his presence at the event and said he attended it upon the invitation of Ashis Ray. “Indian Journalists Association London President Ashis Ray told me he has sent invitations to all political parties including BJP and also Election Commission. He (Ashis Ray) sent me a personal e-mail also. I told him that I will be in London for some personal work and he insisted that I should come as they are going to make an important revelation. So I went.”
Demanding a probe into the charges made by Shuja, Sibal said the issue pertained to free and fair elections and the survival of democracy.
“There should be an inquiry in the charges he (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,” Sibal said.
Hitting back at Prasad, Sibal said, “A minister has made some statements which are irresponsible and are not befitting the statement of the office he holds.”
With inputs from ANI, PTI