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Mumbai North West EVM Unlocking Claims Complete Lie, Filed Case Over Unauthorised Phone Use: Poll Official

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The incident in Mumbai North West Counting Centre is related to the unauthorised use of the phone of an authorised person by a candidate's aide, says the DEO. (File for representation)

The incident in Mumbai North West Counting Centre is related to the unauthorised use of the phone of an authorised person by a candidate’s aide, says the DEO. (File for representation)

There is no OTP on mobile for unlocking EVM as it is non-programmable and has no wireless communication capabilities. “It is a complete lie being spread by a newspaper, which is being used by some leaders to create a false narrative,” the DEO added

The District Election Officer (DEO), Mumbai Suburban, on Sunday acknowledged that there was unauthorised use of mobile phone at the counting centre in Mumbai North West Lok Sabha constituency, stating that a criminal case has already been filed by the Returning Officer (RO). However, it maintained that there is no One Time Password (OTP) on mobile for unlocking an EVM, as it is non-programmable and has no wireless communication capabilities.

“It is a complete lie being spread by a newspaper, which is being used by some leaders to create a false narrative,” the DEO added.

In a post on X, the DEO issued a statement – signed by Vandana Suryavanshi, Returning Officer Mumbai North West PC – saying that EVMs are standalone devices without any wired or wireless connectivity with units outside the EVM system. “Advanced technical features and robust administrative safeguards are in place to rule out any possibility of manipulation. Safeguards include conducting everything in the presence of candidates or their agents,” the DEO added.

The DEO said the incident in Mumbai North West Constituency Counting Centre was about “unauthorisedly using the mobile phone of an authorised person by a candidate’s aide”. “Criminal case has already been filed by the Returning Officer.”

The DEO further explained that counting of Electronically Transmitted Postal Ballot System (ETPBS) happens in physical form (paper ballots) and not electronics “as being spread through false narratives”.

“Every counting sheet at every table for ETPBS and EVM counting and postal ballot counting (including ETPBS) is signed by all counting agents after due diligence,” the statement said, adding that the RO is proceeding against the newspaper for “spreading rumours maligning Indian voters and the electoral system”.

When the Lok Sabha results were announced on June 4, Ravindra Waikar from the Shiv Sena won the polls by the lowest margin of just 48 votes. He defeated Amol Gajanan Kirtikar of Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) in Mumbai North West. Interestingly, Waikar lost the polls in EVM votes, but won on the basis of postal ballots.

ALSO READ | Shiv Sena’s Waikar Wins from Mumbai North West by 48 Votes, Lowest Margin of 2024 Lok Sabha Polls

Since Sunday morning, several opposition leaders from the INDIA alliance have been raising the issue of unauthorised use of mobile phone, as cited by the newspaper.

In a post on X, citing the article, Congress MP Rahul Gandhi said that EVMs in India are a “black box”, and nobody is allowed to scrutinise them. “Serious concerns are being raised about transparency in our electoral process. Democracy ends up becoming a sham and prone to fraud when institutions lack accountability,” he said.

Priyanka Chaturvedi, Rajya Sabha MP from the Shiv Sena UBT, also on X, accused the RO of not being transparent. “Madam Returning Officer is implicating the election office further rather than bring transparency. Many more questions arise from Vandana Suryawanshi jis conference rather than get answers regarding the process for Mumbai North West election result,” she said.

She said that this is a “fraud at the highest level” and yet the Election Commission of India (ECI) “continues to sleep”. “The ‘manipulated’ winner’s relative was carrying a mobile phone at the counting centre which had the ability to unlock EVM machine. If ECI doesn’t step in this will be the biggest election result scam after Chandigarh Mayor election and will see this battle in the courts. This brazenness has to be punished,” the MP said.




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