Attended London hackathon in personal capacity: Sibal

Stating that he attended the EVM hackathon in London in his personal capacity, Congress leader Kapil Sibal on Tuesday called for a probe into the allegations made by a “cyber expert” including hacking of EVMs for the sake of free and fair elections.

With Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad accusing the Congress of sponsoring the London event where US-based self-claimed cyber expert Syed Shuja made several sensational claims, Sibal said the BJP government should focus on verifying the allegations instead of making wild accusations against the Congress.

Besides alleging that the 2014 Lok Sabha elections were “rigged” and EVMs were “hacked”, Shuja also claimed that he worked for the Electronics Corporation of India Ltd (ECIL) — the makers of EVMs — and that he sought political asylum in the US after attempts on his life and killing of his parents.

While the Centre’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Election Commission (EC) have trashed his charges, Sibal stressed on the need for verifying the claims and if they are found to be false, Shuja should be dealt with legally.

“Why is the Minister trying to digress the issue by pointing fingers at the Congress instead of probing veracity of the claims made (by Shuja)? It’s a big issue, issue about free and fair elections,” said Sibal, adding that he attended the event at the personal invitation of Ashish Ray — who had organised the Monday’s explosive press conference in London.

Sibal said that Ray had also extended invitation for the event to all political parties.

“He (Shuja) claims that he worked for ECIL and that ECIL engaged and paid money to a company for working on next generation EVMs. All that can be verified by the ECIL which has a lot of answering to do.

“He also claimed that he was shot at and that his house was set on fire and his parents were burnt to death. Our only request is that his claims should be probed. If he is found to be lying then he should be dealt with accordingly,” said Sibal.

Sibal also pointed to Shuja’s claims of the US Department of Justice verifying the claims of attacks on him and giving him political asylum.

“I am not saying he is right or wrong, what I am saying is that these are very serious issues which need to be investigated,” said Sibal, adding that the Andhra Pradesh police should start a probe into allegations of Shuja being attacked and his parents being killed in Hyderabad.