Mumbai poll official denies claim of mobile phone OTP to ‘unlock EVM’ amid FIR against Shiv Sena MP Waikar’s kin

Mumbai's returning officer clarified that EVM doesn't need OTP. Pandilkar was booked for using a mobile phone at a counting centre. The incident was reported to the Vanrai police by an independent candidate.

Livemint
Updated16 Jun 2024, 07:20 PM IST
Mumbai's returning Lok Sabha poll official Vandana Suryavanshi on Sunday said an EVM was a standalone system that does not need an OTP to unlock it
Mumbai’s returning Lok Sabha poll official Vandana Suryavanshi on Sunday said an EVM was a standalone system that does not need an OTP to unlock it

Mumbai poll officials issued a clarification on Sunday amid allegations of EVM manipulation via mobile phone. The assertion came even as the Vanrai police booked Mangesh Pandilkar — the brother-in-law of Shiv Sena MP Shiv Ravindra Waikar — for using a mobile phone at a counting centre in Goregaon on June 4.  Meanwhile, Chief Minister Eknath Shinde wondered if doubts were being raised simply because the winner belonged to his party.

“The EVM is a standalone system and there is no need for an OTP to unlock it. It is not programmable and has no wireless communication capabilities. It is a complete lie being spread by a newspaper. We have issued notice to Mid-day newspaper under sections 499, 505 of the Indian Penal Code for defamation and spreading false news,” said returning officer Vandana Suryavanshi during a press conference on Sunday.

Also Read: Mumbai MP Waikar's kin booked for using phone to ‘unlock EVM’

Waikar had defeated Shiv Sena (UBT) candidate Amol Kirtikar by 48 votes during the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections — the lowest victory margin in the country. 

An FIR was registered against Pandilkar and polling personnel Dinesh Gurav on Sunday for carrying a mobile phone inside the counting centre. The Midday report claimed that the device was connected to the Electronic Voting Machine and used to generate an 'unlocking' OTP. The publication said the Vanrai Police had now sent the phone for forensic testing to secure the mobile phone data and call records. 

The report said that the police had also found an "Electronically Transmitted Postal Ballot System for Service Voter which is also used after using EVM machines". It claimed that Gurav had used the mobile phone in question to generate an OTP. Allegedly Kirtikar had lost his lead once the votes on the ETPBS were counted.

ALSO READ: ‘Art of stealing victory’: Shiv Sena (UBT) leader takes swipe at ECI amid Amol Kirtikar’s defeat by 48 votes

“Why are questions being raised about the outcome of only Mumbai North West constituency and not any other result in the state? Is it because my candidate, Waikar, won and theirs lost,” asked Chief Minister Shinde.

“Pandilkar was booked on the complaint of polling personnel Dinesh Gurav. An independent candidate noticed the former using a mobile phone despite a ban on such devices at the counting centre and alerted the returning officer. The RO in turn approached Vanrai police,” added a Vanrai police station official.

(With inputs from agencies)

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First Published:16 Jun 2024, 07:20 PM IST
HomeNewsIndiaMumbai poll official denies claim of mobile phone OTP to ‘unlock EVM’ amid FIR against Shiv Sena MP Waikar’s kin

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