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Uttarakhand HC takes EVMs used in Vikasnagar polls into judicial custody

Following complaints of EVMs being tampered with during the recently concluded assembly elections, the Uttarakhand high court ordered the seizing of around 180 machines that were used in the Vikasnagar constituency.

india Updated: Apr 27, 2017 15:33 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Nainital
Uttarakhand,EVM,Assembly elections
Election officials examine Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) from a distribution centre in Amritsar on February 3, 2017, before state assembly elections were conducted in Punjab, Goa, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Manipur. (AFP File Photo)

The Uttarakhand high court ordered on Thursday the sealing and preserving of all electronic voting machines used in the state’s Vikasnagar constituency during the recently-concluded assembly elections, following complaints of large-scale tampering.

The order came on a petition by Congress leader and former state minister Navprabhat, who alleged that the BJP MLA from Vikasnagar – Munna Singh Chauhan – manipulated EVMs to engineer a victory. Chauhan beat Navprabhat by a little more than 6,000 votes.

The BJP swept Uttarakhand during last month’s polls, winning 57 of 70 seats. Thursday’s order would affect 180-odd EVMs.

The single-judge bench of justice SK Gupta also asked Chauhan, the returning officer of Vikasnagar, the state’s chief secretary, the Election Commission and chief electoral officer of Uttarakhand to respond to the petition within six weeks.

The order is likely to add to a swirling debate on EVMs that opposition parties say can be easily hacked. The Congress has joined parties such as the Aam Aadmi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party to demand investigations into allegations of widespread tampering of the devices to favour the BJP.

In his petition, Navprabhat also complained that Chauhan was registered as a voter from two constituencies, which is against the rules. The petitioner also alleged the presence of several bogus voters in the constituency.

First Published: Apr 27, 2017 15:24 IST