EVM researcher Prasad released on bail

Hari-Prasad-evmHyderabad based technical researcher, Hari Prasad, who has carried out research on Indian electronic voting machines (EVM) and was arrested for stealing an EVM unit form Mumbai, has been released on bail.

Mr. Prasad has co-authored a page on Indian electronic voting machines with a researcher from the US and one from the Netherlands. He has claimed publicly that the EVMs used in the country are not tamper proof.

He was arrested on August 21 on charges of stealing EVM with serial number E-131812 from Old Custom House in Mumbai. He surrendered to a team of Mumbai Police in Hyderabad to register his protest against the system. He was taken to Mumbai and was questioned about the person who provided the device used in a research paper published in April showing that the machines was not tamper proof.

Mr. Prasad, who is the managing director of NetIndia Pvt Ltd and also works as the technical coordinator of VeTA (Citizens for Verifiability, Transparency and Accountability in Elections), has been booked under IPC sections 454,
457 and 380 for housebreaking and theft. The police is still searching for the machine which Prasad says he has returned to a government official back in April.

The metropolitan court magistrate hearing the case expressed that that no offence is associated with Mr. Prasad and even if the court assumes that the EVM was stolen, it was not meant for any dishonest motives.

According to some reports, the magistrate also asked the Election Commission to either admit or disapprove the claims made by him about the machine. He said that Mr. Prasad could face charges if his claims are found to be false.

Mr. Prasad has retained the position that he obtained the machine legally and returned it within two days however he refuses to disclose the name of the source. The claims made by him are dismissed by the EC.

Meanwhile, Mr. Prasad is getting ready to present his controversial paper at a conference in Chicago on October 5. The paper titled ‘Security Analysis of India’s Electronic Voting Machines’ will be presented by him and the two co-authors from abroad.