Ravi Shankar Prasad calls UK hackathon 'Congress-sponsored', alleges Kapil Sibal attended event to monitor it on behalf of party

A day after a self-proclaimed cyber expert claimed at a hackathon in London that the 2014 Lok Sabha election was "rigged", Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Tuesday questioned the presence of senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal at the event.

"Congress' false agenda is an insult to the Indian voters. In what capacity was (senior Congress leader) Kapil Sibal present at the EVM hackathon event? He went there to monitor it on behalf of Congress," Prasad said in New Delhi. "Is the Congress-sponsored event designed to defame the popular mandate of India?"

File image of Ravi Shankar Prasad. PTI

File image of Ravi Shankar Prasad. PTI

At the hackathon's press conference on Monday, "cyber expert" Syed Shuja alleged that the BJP had hacked the EVMs in 2014 using a modulator which transmits military-grade frequency. As Sibal's presence at the event sparked a controversy, Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said on Monday that Sibal didn't attend the event as a Congress representative and was invited to the event by a journalist.

Alleging that Sibal had gone to the event "with a deliberate design", Prasad said, "The UPA was in power in 2014, not us. Where is the logic in accusing us of hacking EVM when we were not in power?"

Prasad further said that he didn't understand "what kind of drama this was" as Shuja "did not offer any proof" to make the claims.

"The whole world praises the Election Commission of India (ECI). Today, Congress is attacking this constitutional institution. Congress is doing its best to weaken the identity and identity of the constitutional and legal institutions of the country," he said, adding that the party was "looking for excuses to come up with after it suffers defeat in 2019."

The ECI on Monday took a serious view of the event and threatened to take legal action. In a statement, the poll panel clarified that the EVMs can't be tampered with, and asserted that the machines are manufactured following "rigorous standard operating procedures".

"It is being separately examined as to what legal action can and should be taken in the matter," it said.

"ECI has been wary of becoming a party to this motivated slugfest and stands by empirical facts about the fool-proof nature of ECI EVMs," the commission said.

Lashing out at the Congress on Monday, Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi had said, "The Congress has a lot of freelancers, who sometimes reach even Pakistan to take help for removing Prime Minister Narendra Modi. They are making a hacking horror show of their possible defeat in the upcoming elections."

With inputs from agencies

Firstpost is now on WhatsApp. For the latest analysis, commentary and news updates, sign up for our WhatsApp services. Just go to Firstpost.com/Whatsapp and hit the Subscribe button.

Updated Date: Jan 22, 2019 15:08:51 IST

Also See