The Hyderabad-based forensic science laboratory on Tuesday informed the Bombay high court that electronic voting machines used at two booths in Pune during the 2014 Maharashtra assembly elections were not tampered with.
Justice Mridula Bhatkar was hearing a petition filed by a Congress candidate, Abhay Chhajed, who lost the election from Parvati constituency and claimed that he got very less votes compared to what he expected in booth numbers 185 and 242 because the EVM machines there were rigged. In his petition, Chhajed said that 89 voters from the two booths had sworn affidavits that they voted for him however he actually got only 69 votes from both booths.
In May this year, the court ordered forensic examination of EVMs on a plea that they had been tampered with. At the time, the bench directed Pune district collector to send the EVMs from booth numbers 185 and 242 of Parvati constituency to Hyderabad’s forensic science laboratory (FSL) for necessary tests.
The FSL on Tuesday submitted its report to the high court. The report stated, “It is opined that no evidence of tampering, altering or any other manipulation could be detected. There is also no evidence of any tampering to access data.” The report further said, “The machines were forensically analysed and it has been found that they are standalone, non-networked, one-time programmable machines which are neither computer-controlled externally nor could be connected internally or to any network.”
The report also said the machines were working properly. The court posted the matter for further hearing next week.