Activist Hari Prasad, who was arrested from Hyderabad for allegedly stealing an Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) from the Mumbai Collector’s office, was released on bail on Saturday.
A metropolitan magistrate granted bail to Prasad (42), a technical co-ordinater of VETA (Citizens for Verifiability, Transparency and Accountability in Elections), against a surety of Rs. 25,000, after observing that no offence was disclosed.
The magistrate observed that the police and the election commission should verify the claim made by Prasad (that EVMs can be tampered with) and take necessary action if the claims were found to be baseless. The magistrate also observed that even if it was assumed that the EVM was stolen, it was not done with dishonest intentions. It was to prove that EVMs can be tampered with.
Mahesh Jethmalani, Prasad’s counsel, argued that Prasad did not steal the EVM but it was given to him by two men who had asked him if the machines could be tampered with. Jethmalani said Prasad had agreed to prove that the machine could be tampered with but he did not steal it.
The police opposed his bail saying that they need to find out the identity of two other activists from within the state, who allegedly helped Prasad.
The EVM was allegedly stolen from the Old Customs House. Prasad, after allegedly stealing the EVM, appeared on a television programme to show how the machine can be tampered with.
Prasad arrested on August 21 on charges of theft and trespass.