The Election Commission of India (ECI) is trying to avoid concerns over alleged malfunctioning of voting machines by objecting to the presence of Hari K Prasad, who was arrested in 2010 following an attempt to prove that EVMs can be tampered, the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) alleged on Sunday.
The party was responding to the poll watchdog’s claims that “how a so-called technical expert with these antecedents (the FIR against Prasad for stealing an EVM) was allowed to be a part of the delegation” led by TDP chief and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu.
“Would like to state that instead of focusing on the issue, the Commission is trying to avoid the situation,” the TDP said in a letter to the poll body, a copy of which was accessed by news agency ANI.
“The ECI is not willing to discuss with him stating reason of criminal case while on many occasions, he attended the sessions on EVMs,” the party said.
TDP also said that no chargesheet was filed nine years after the FIR was registered against Prasad.
On Saturday, a team led by Naidu, was scheduled to meet the ECI to discuss problems related to polling.
During the meeting, the Commission permitted TDP to send a few members of the delegation to meet Deputy Election Commissioner Sudeep Jain and Prof D T Sahani, chairman of the Technical Expert Committee (TEC), later in the day for a more detailed discussion on functioning of EVMs.
The evening meeting, however, was called off after the Commission objected to the presence of Hari K Prasad in the delegation. Prasad had managed to get an EVM in 2010 and demonstrated its supposed vulnerability to tampering in a video. He was later arrested on charges of stealing an EVM.
The EC then shot off a letter to the party’s legal cell disapproving of Prasad’s presence. “…this is completely intriguing as to how a so-called technical expert with these antecedents (the FIR against Prasad for stealing an EVM) was allowed to be a part of the delegation being led by Shri Nara Chandrababu Naidu, Hon’ble Chief Minister, Andhra Pradesh and President, TDP,” stated the letter, a copy of which was marked to Principal Resident Commissioner of Andhra Pradesh in the national capital.