TDP defends EVM-theft accused in their delegation to ECI

The Telugu Desam Party, led by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu, has strongly refuted objections raised by the Election Commission of India (ECI) against presence of a person, who faces a case of theft of voting machines, is part of Naidu delegation,  that held detailed discussions with Chief Election officer Sunil Arora, yesterday.

As the ECI invited TDP delegation for a discussion with EVM experts against on Monday, it advised the party leadership not to include said person in their delegation. However, TDP alleged that the poll body is trying to “avoid addressing the situation”.

The ECI in its letter, asked TDP why a man who faces a criminal case of theft in 2010 was part of his team to the poll body’s office. The letter stated that it was decided that the man, Hari Prasad Vemuru, would get a detailed briefing from the technical team of the commission.

“When the discussions came to the issue of EVMs and their functioning, one of the delegates repeatedly raised various technical issues regarding functioning of EVM and said that he has the requisite technical expertise in the field. However, when this technical person came it turned out that he was Hari Prasad who was involved in a criminal case regarding alleged theft of EVM machine in 2010 in which FIR was filed in… Mumbai,” the ECI added.

The TDP, in its reply, alleged that was a false case as no chargesheet was filed against Hari Prasad Vemuru in the last nine years and claimed that he is the first Indian to be honoured with the US-based Electronic Frontier Foundation Pioneer Award nine years ago.

Moreover, TDP pointed out that even after registering of the said case, former Election Commission chiefs SY Qureshi and VS Sampath had welcomed his ideas and held discussions with him, which lead to the design of VVPATs or voter paper trail slips.

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