Researcher gets bail in EVM theft case

By SiliconIndia   |   Monday, 30 August 2010, 03:10 Hrs   |    3 Comments
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Researcher gets bail in EVM theft case
Bangalore: Hari Prasad, a security researcher who was arrested on Aug. 21 for the alleged theft of an electronic voting machine (EVM), has released on bail by a magistrate in Mumbai, John Ribeiro from IDG News Service.

The Hyderabad based researcher told Mumbai police that the machine had been brought to him in February by an unknown person whom he described as an activist opposed to EVMs. The person had earlier visited his office in November with Dinesh Bachav, the husband of Shobha Bachav, a senior politician in Maharashtra state who had lost an election in October.

Dinesh Bachav visited Prasad with about 25 others to ask him if he could show whether an EVM could be tampered with, Prasad said. People question EVMs only when they lose an election, not when they win, Prasad added.

Prasad, who had already developed what he described as a "look-alike" EVM, including its electronics, showed the group how elections using an EVM could be tampered with. The group then asked him if he could do the same if he was provided with an EVM used in an election, and he confirmed that he could, Prasad said.

Prasad, who was back in his home city, Hyderabad, on Sunday, said that two people delivered the EVM in February without prior notice to his office, on condition that it was returned to them the next day. One of the persons was present at the November meeting at which Dinesh Bachav was present.

By "coincidence," Prasad's foreign co-researchers were also in Hyderabad at the time, and they worked through the night to hack the EVM, Prasad said. The researchers, who were in India to address a conference on EVMs hosted by Indian opposition politician Subramanian Swamy, were visiting Prasad to see the EVM he had developed, and to work together on a paper on the vulnerability of EVMs, he added.
Prasad had told the police in Mumbai earlier in the investigation that he did not remember who gave him the EVM, Wani said. On Sunday, Prasad again maintained that he doesn't remember the people who gave him the machine.

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