The Election Commission (EC) said on Friday that no anomaly or tampering was found to have been done with the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) used for demonstration for an assembly by-poll in Ater constituency in Madhya Pradesh.
An Election Commission release said a special inquiry team led by Andhra Pradesh Chief Electoral Officer Bhanwar Lal has submitted its report on the matter.
“The team found no anomaly or tampering with the EVM and VVPAT used during demonstration in Ater (Bhind) on March 31. The inquiry was instituted to probe all aspects of allegations raised in the media and by political parties,” the poll panel said.
“The team in its report concluded that it is completely false to say that multiple times slips of lotus were printed on pressing different buttons during the demonstration on March 31 as alleged,” it said.
The panel further said: “The lapse related to non-deletion of the pre-loaded data of Govind Nagar AC (assembly constituency) of Kanpur Nagar, from where VVPATs (not EVMs) were received and reloading with the symbols/data of dummy candidate before demonstration as per the laid down protocol of the Commission.”
The Congress, in its complaint to the Election Commission, had referred to media reports that said voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) during the EVM demonstration showed the Bharatiya Janata Party as the party voted for even when two different buttons were pressed.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had also made similar allegations.
The conclusion of the enquiry committee on the allegations says “the EVMs used in the demo in Bhind was not brought from UP. However, the VVPAT used in the demonstration was brought from UP.”
“Since the VVPATs are limited in number and had been used by all the poll going states during the last five states elections, the distribution of VVPATs for 10 states by-elections was made by the Commission by allocating VVPATs from different poll-gone statesto different poll-going states. In this case, the VVPAT was allocated from UP and brought from Govind Nagar AC of Kanpur Nagar,” the committee said.
“Bringing the VVPAT from UP is not in violation of law. As per the law, only the EVMs used in the poll and the VVPAT slips contained in the box are required to be preserved for the period of 45 days in a secured manner for the purpose of Election Petition, if any,” it added.
The committee also concluded: “There is no bar on the movement of VVPATs machines as the same are not required to be preserved for election petitions as the paper slips printed through the VVPAT and contained in the box are required to be preserved separately.
“In this case, however, further precaution was taken to move only the reserve VVPATs used as substitutes during poll on which no restriction applies.”