Gujarat polls: Congress' complaint of EVM tampering via Bluetooth is 'baseless', says EC

EC in Gujarat said that an inquiry found that the apprehension about possible EVM tampering through Bluetooth technology, raised by Opposition Congress

PTI December 09, 2017 22:31:21 IST
Gujarat polls: Congress' complaint of EVM tampering via Bluetooth is 'baseless', says EC

Ahmedabad: The Election Commission (EC) in Gujarat said on Saturday that an inquiry found that the apprehension about possible EVM tampering through Bluetooth technology, raised by opposition Congress, was baseless.

The device which the complainant's mobile phone detected after putting on Bluetooth was not an Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) but a mobile phone, carried by a polling agent, the commission said.

Earlier, as voting for 89 seats in the first phase of Gujarat Assembly elections was underway, senior Congress leader Arjun Modhwadia complained of possible EVM tampering at three polling booths in a Muslim-dominated area of Porbandar, a seat he is contesting.

Gujarat polls Congress complaint of EVM tampering via Bluetooth is baseless says EC

Representational image. Reuters

Some EVMs were found to be connecting to external devices such as mobile phones through Bluetooth, he had claimed.

Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) BB Swain told reporters that as per the report of an inquiry it ordered, the mobile phone of the complainant was detecting, when its Bluetooth was activated, another device identified as 'ECO 105'.

"ECO 105 was feared to be the EVM at the polling booth, giving rise to the fear of possible tampering through Bluetooth technology," Swain said.

The collector and observer were sent to the booths from where complaints were received, and the complainant was also called.

An inquiry was conducted in front of local media, and the report submitted by the District Election Officer (DEO) is that a polling agent was carrying a mobile phone of Intex company, bearing model number ECO 105, he said.

"A polling agent named Manoj Singrakhiya was carrying the mobile phone. He was in the close vicinity of the phone of the complainant...The complainant might have thought that 'EC' in ECO stands for Election Commission," Swain said.

Modhwadia had said that complainants found that EVMs at three polling booths in Memanwada, a Muslim-dominated area, connected with external devices through Bluetooth.

This meant EVMs can be tampered with through Bluetooth, he had said. "The chips fitted in EVMs appear to be programmable using Bluetooth, and this raises the possibility of tampering. The voting system should be immune to such connectivity to external devices," he had said.

The ruling BJP had dismissed Modhwadia's complaint saying it showed the Congress was looking for an excuse.

"Congress is searching for an excuse even before the results are out, as it stares at a loss in the elections," said BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra.

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