48-votes case: Poll official refutes media reports in case linked to Ravindra Waikar; says EVMs cannot be accessed via OTP

16 June,2024 06:30 PM IST |  Mumbai  |  mid-day online correspondent

Vandana Suryavanshi, returning officer of Mumbai North West Lok Sabha constituency, held a press conference on Sunday to address the reports of alleged EVM-phone link that surfaced earlier in the day

Vandana Suryavanshi, returning officer of Mumbai North West Lok Sabha constituency at the press conference. Pic/ screengrab


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Key Highlights

Reacting to the news reports of EVM tampering by Ravindra Waikar's Kin, a poll official claimed that the EVM was a standalone system that does not need an OTP to unlock it.

Vandana Suryavanshi, returning officer of Mumbai North West Lok Sabha constituency, held a press conference on Sunday to address the reports of alleged EVM-phone link that surfaced earlier in the day.

"The EVM is a standalone system and there is no need for an OTP to unlock it. We have issued notice to the newspaper under sections 499, 505 of the Indian Penal Code for defamation and spreading false news," Suryavanshi said in a press conference on Sunday. An Official release added that the EVM is non-programmable device and it has no wireless communication capabilities.

The polling officer did not comment when she was asked about Dinesh Gurav's device being with Waikar's relative who was arrested. Dinesh Gurav is an ENCORE operator with the ECI, against whom an FIR was filed in the same case on Wednesday.

Further, Suryavanshi said that an OTP is required to log in to the ENCORE system, which is a data compilation system of the ECI.

When asked what action the ECI is taking regarding the investigation, Suryavanshi said, "Once the police investigation is done, then ECI will look into it."

A media report had claimed that the kin of Ravindra Waikar, the Shiv Sena candidate who emerged victorious there by a wafer thin margin of 48 votes, was using a mobile phone connected to an EVM during vote counting on June 4.

Mangesh Pandilkar, brother-in-law of Waikar was booked on Wednesday for allegedly using a mobile phone at a counting centre on June 4, when results of the general elections were announced, a police official said on Saturday.

The Vanrai police station official said the case was registered for Pandlikar's against his alleged act inside a counting centre in Goregaon, which is part of Waikar's constituency.

Pandilkar has been booked under Indian Penal Code section 188 (disobeying official order), the official added.

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