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Himachal elections: Posing as EC official, Pune IAS aspirant demanded Rs 1 crore to tamper with EVMs

He had sent messages to several candidates and offered to tamper the EVMs as per their convenience.

HimachalPradeshElection2017 Updated: Dec 15, 2017 13:16 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Shimla
Himachal elections,EVM tampering,Himachal Police
representative Image(AFP Photo)

Pune IAS aspirant Sachin Rathore, 24, who was arrested last Monday for luring candidates contesting the Himachal Pradesh assembly elections to manipulate electronic voting machines (EVMs) in their favour, had allegedly sought Rs 1 crore from many candidates.

As per the investigation carried out by Shimla police, Rathore, posing as an election commission official, had sent messages to several candidates and offered to tamper the EVMs as per their convenience. “He sent the SMSes to several sitting MLAs of both the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party seeking Rs 1 crore in return,” a police official, requesting anonymity, told Hindustan Times.

Rathore had sent all these messages on November 6 and 7, just two days before Himachal Pradesh went to the polls.

Meanwhile the accused maintained that he does not know to hack any machine. “It was a mistake. I only sent messages saying that I am the election commissioner of Himachal and also wrote his name,” said Sachin Rathore. When these messages were sent to the candidates, many ignored it while some called Rajput and complained about such messages.

Shimla SP Soumya Sambasivan said, “The investigation is on. The youth knows nothing about EVM hacking. He tried to allure candidates. He was produced in the court and sent to judicial custody till December 9.”

Rathore, a student of Fergusson College, had sent messages from different mobile numbers. He was arrested on November 17 in Pune and brought to Shimla on transit remand. The police had registered a case under Sections 124A (sedition) and 505 (2) (circulating statements conducing to public mischief) of Indian Penal Code. The police may add more sections as the probe is still on.

What was in the message?

The message sent by Rathore said, “I am the election commissioner of Himachal Pradesh. If you give me ₹1 crore, I can increase your votes by tampering the EVM machines.”

First Published: Nov 27, 2017 21:40 IST