Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu

TDP tech advisor is whistle-blower, not thief: Chandrababu Naidu hits back at EC's charge

  • I know technology. I have been promoting technology in the country. We should become masters of technology and not slaves of it
  • In a letter to the TDP, the Election Commission on Saturday questioned how a person with criminal antecedents can be part of the delegation led by Naidu

NEW DELHI: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu Sunday said his technology advisor Hari Prasad Vemuru, whose presence in TDP's delegation to the Election Commission was objected to by the poll panel, was a whistle-blower and not a thief.

"Yesterday we met the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and showed him how EVMs were not functioning properly. He (Vemuru) was called for discussion in the fight for transparency. He is a whistle-blower. He has not committed theft," Naidu said speaking at a presser of opposition parties here on the issue of transparency in the election process.

"I know technology. I have been promoting technology in the country. We should become masters of technology and not slaves of it," he added.

In a letter to the TDP, the Election Commission on Saturday questioned how a person with criminal antecedents can be part of the delegation led by Naidu. The poll panel said Vemuru was involved in a criminal case regarding alleged theft of an EVM in 2010.

In its reply, the TDP said no charge sheet was filed against Vemuru in the last nine years. The EC had even invited Vemuru to participate in the first field trial of VVPATs in Delhi on July 21, 2011.

He had also attended several other meetings of the EC in the last nine years, it said, adding that instead of focusing on the issue, the poll panel was "trying to avoid addressing the situation".

At the presser, Vemuru made a presentation on how EVMs were not working properly.

"The machines which are claimed to be secure are not functioning as per the manual. The manual says the voter verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) slip has to be displayed for seven seconds and then cut and drop into the box but it was not happening," he said

Showing a video which captured different functioning of three EVM machines -- two machines from two constituencies in Andhra Pradesh and one from a demonstration given by the EC, he said: "Certain code has been changed or manipulated showcasing the differences in display time. The EC is not answering this."

Leaders of over 20 opposition parties, including the Congress, TDP, AAP, SP, CPI, CPI(M) and Trinamool Congress, were present at the presser and launched a vociferous attack on the ruling BJP for trying to "influence" the EC.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.

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