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Posing as EC official, Pune IAS aspirant demanded ₹1 cr to tamper with EVMs

As per the investigation carried out by the 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. Rathore had sent all these messages on November 6 and 7, just two days before Himachal Pradesh went to the polls.

pune Updated: Nov 28, 2017 15:17 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Pune
EC official,Pune,IAS aspirant
Police personnel take the accused, who offered to hack EVMs, to produce him in court in Shimla on Monday. (Deepak Sansta / Hindustan Times)

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

As per the investigation carried out by the 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 ₹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 how 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 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 28, 2017 15:16 IST