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HindustanTimes Wed,16 Apr 2014

Parties had sought advice of EVM 'thief'

Megha Sood, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, October 27, 2010
First Published: 01:55 IST(27/10/2010) | Last Updated: 01:56 IST(27/10/2010)

Investigations by the MRA Marg police into the theft of the EVM (Electronic Voting Machine) from the Collector’s office have revealed that representatives of all political parties in the country had approached Hyderabad-based researcher Hari Prasad to find out whether an EVM machine could be tampered with.

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Police officers from MRA Marg said the representatives approached Prasad to find out whether their defeat in any of the elections was the outcome of the tampering of the EVM machine.

Prasad, a software company owner, is out on bail and is in Hyderabad at present. According to the police, Prasad was contacted by minister of state, Madhav Kinhalkar after he lost the 2009 elections.

Kinhalkar, along with his relative Sanjay Bhagwat, deputy district election officer at the Collector’s office at the time, went to Hyderabad and asked Prasad to research whether tampering of the EVM was the reason behind his loss. Both Kinhalkar and Bhagwat stand accused in the case and could be arrested, sources said. They have applied for anticipatory bail in the Session’s court.

“We are waiting for the court to start hearing of the anticipatory bail application. We will oppose it and if the bail gets rejected we will question the two,” said PSI Ravi Vani, MRA Marg police station.

An officer from MRA Marg police station said on condition of anonymity as he is not authorised to speak to the media, “We only want to find out how Prasad got access to the EVM machine or who helped him procure the machine. The fact that he discovered that EVM machines are not tamper-proof is not our concern. There is nothing illegal in that, but for this research, Prasad procured the machine illegally.”

The officer also said that Prasad had sought the help of foreigners for the research where he had found out that after the memory chip of the EVM machine is changed it can be operated even by a mobile phone miles away.

Government sources said the police are probing the role of deputy chief electoral officer Sanjay Bhagwat and some others.

Sources said investigators would also probe the connection of a Dutch and an American citizen along with two other individuals, Mukund Lagoo from Pune and Wariprasad, an associate of Hari Prasad. The cellphone calls made by the accused to each other are being checked.

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