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Police uncover EVM tampering in Mumbai polls

The investigation revealed that Mangesh Pandilkar, a relative of Waikar, was allegedly in possession of a mobile phone that was used to unlock EVMs. This phone was reportedly used to generate the One-Time Password (OTP) necessary for accessing the machines, which were situated at the NESCO Centre during the vote count on June 4.

News Arena Network - Mumbai - UPDATED: June 15, 2024, 10:18 PM - 2 mins read

In a significant development during the 2024 India general elections, the Vanrai police have uncovered potential tampering with Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) linked to Ravindra Waikar’s narrow victory in the Mumbai North West Lok Sabha constituency.

Police uncover EVM tampering in Mumbai polls

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In a significant development during the 2024 India general elections, the Vanrai police have uncovered potential tampering with Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) linked to Ravindra Waikar’s narrow victory in the Mumbai North West Lok Sabha constituency.

 

Waikar, a Shiv Sena candidate, won by a slim margin of 48 votes.

 

The investigation revealed that Mangesh Pandilkar, a relative of Waikar, was allegedly in possession of a mobile phone that was used to unlock EVMs. This phone was reportedly used to generate the One-Time Password (OTP) necessary for accessing the machines, which were situated at the NESCO Centre during the vote count on June 4.

 

The Vanrai police have issued a CRPC 41A notice to both Pandilkar and Dinesh Gurav, an ENCORE (poll portal) operator affiliated with the Election Commission.

 

Senior inspector Rampiyare Rajbhar stated that the mobile phone has been sent to the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) for further analysis, including examining call records and fingerprint data.

 

The incident came to light when the Election Commission officer filed a First Information Report (FIR) on June 14 following complaints from competing candidates Arora and Bharat Shah.

 

The police are currently reviewing CCTV footage from the NESCO Centre to understand how the phone was smuggled into the facility and to identify any additional accomplices.

 

On the day of the incident, both Ravindra Waikar and candidate Amol Kirtikar were present at the NESCO Centre. Initial vote counts from the EVMs had Kirtikar in the lead, but when votes from the Electronically Transmitted Postal Ballot System (ETPBS) were counted, Waikar surged ahead, ultimately winning the seat.

 

The police noted that the same mobile phone was used to generate the OTP for the ETPBS, raising further suspicion of foul play.

 

Inspector Rajbhar emphasized the importance of cooperation from the accused, warning that failure to comply with the investigation could result in arrest warrants being issued. 

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