Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu’s Telugu Desam Party has slammed the Election Commission over the controversy over an EVM-theft accused. The man in question - Hari Prasad Vemuru – was part of Naidu’s delegation when it met the poll body in New Delhi on Saturday. While the Election Commission has said that Vemuru has been accused of EVM-theft, the TDP has rejected the charges and has cited a US Award to vouch for his credibility. In its reply to the poll panel, the TDP has said that no chargesheet was filed against Vemuru. It added that he was an expert on EMVs and was awarded with US-based Electronic Frontier Foundation Pioneer Award nine years ago.
"...instead of focusing on the issue, commission is trying to avoid addressing the situation," the TDP said. The rebuttal came after the Election Commission wrote to the Telugu Desam Party asking how a person with criminal antecedents could be a part of Naidu’s delegation. The EC in its letter had said when Naidu visited, he was accompanied by Vemuru, who repeatedly raised various technical issues regarding functioning of EVMs and claimed that he had the technical expertise in the field. The letter stated that it was decided that Prasad would get a detailed briefing from the technical team of the EC.
"However, when this technical person came it turned out that he was Hari Prasad who was involved in a criminal case regarding alleged theft of EVM machine in 2010 which an FIR was filed...Whatever maybe the eventual outcome of the investigation, it would be appreciated that such antecedents do not inspire confidence.
"This is completely intriguing as to how a so called technical expert with these antecedents was allowed to be part of the delegation led by N Chandrababu Naidu, Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh and President, TDP," the letter from EC, addressed to the president of the party's legal cell, said.
The Andhra Pradesh chief minister met Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora here and submitted a memorandum alleging that a large number of EVMs malfunctioned during polling in the state on Thursday and inadequate security led to incidents of violence.