Representational Image of Electronic Voting Machine ( Courtesy: Election commission of India)
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Amid apprehensions about the credibility of electronic voting machines (EVMs), Pune-based civic activist Maruti Bhapkar has issued a legal notice through noted lawyer and rights activist Asim Sarode to the Arizona-based Microchip Technology Inc. and Renesas Electronics headquartered in Tokyo on the alleged EVM manipulation in the recent general election, reported The Hindu.

In the interests of transparency and clarity, Mr. Bhapkar and Mr. Sarode say, they have demanded that the firms publicly disclose copies of their agreements or contracts made with the Election Commission of India (ECI), reported The Hindu.

“Through activists working in this field, we have come to know of four major foreign companies – two U.S.-based, one Canadian and one Japanese – that make the microchips for the EVMs used in the Lok Sabha election. As of now, we have sent legal notice to two of these reputed firms,” Mr. Sarode told The Hindu.

“If the firms did respond to their notice by disclosing their contracts, then the precise nature of their work assigned to them by the ECI could be ascertained. By studying these agreements or contracts, we can also determine the degree of interference – if any – of such firms in the electoral process.” He added.

Mr. Bhapkar said, “The EVMs used in the Lok Sabha election have microchips made by foreign firms which are also leading providers of Micro-controllers, analog field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) and power management semiconductors. Given the number of reasonable doubts raised over EVM tampering in the recent Lok Sabha election, these firms become suspects in any election fraud committed through electronic machines until proven otherwise.” The companies could help dispel lingering suspicion over the EVMs by exhibiting copies of their contract in the public domain.

Mr. Sarode said Article 324 mandated the ECI to conduct elections under their superintendence, directions, and control.

The purpose behind sending legal notice to these firms was to secure national as well as international support on the matter of EVM tampering, both of them explained.

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