The Election commission has issued a clarification statement after two media platforms, Frontline Magazine and TV9 Bharatvarsha ran a story that alleged 20 lakh Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) had gone missing from the possession of the ECI. In its statement, the highest body of elections in India rejected all such claims. Sheyphali. B. Sharan, the spokesperson for ECI issued an official statement addressed to the editors of Frontline magazine and TV9 Bharatvarsh channel on behalf of the commission to refute their virulent claims.
On May 24th, an article titled “Missing EVMs” was published on the Frontline Magazine. The report was based on a an RTI-based public interest petition in the Bombay High Court. The aim of the article was highlighting the alleged loopholes regarding the security of the EVMs.
The election commission in its statement has rejected all the speculations about loopholes in its security system and discarded any possibility of EVMs getting misplaced. The statement pointed out that ECI follows strict protocols and compliance procedures regarding the movement of the EVMs and VVPATs and no machine can leave the designated ECI warehouse without prior approval of the commission. It also clarified that state election commissions are independent bodies of their own and do not come under the central election commission.
The editors of Frontline and TV9 Bharatvarsh have been informed due details with respect to misleading stories carried in their magazine/Channel. Editor Frontline has acknowledged that due rejoinder shall be published. TV9channel has deleted the story from their telecast pic.twitter.com/AwzZlFeRGA
— Sheyphali Sharan (@SpokespersonECI) May 9, 2019
“It is noticed that this news story has selectively quoted some information obtained by an individual through RTI application from multiple Pubic Authorities and a PIL filed in the Bombay High Court. This news story carries only partial and one-sided information, which is inaccurate and based on the specious misinterpretation of the facts in the matter, therefore creating unwarranted doubts in the minds of the general public,” the statement read.
Following the clarification from ECI, Frontline magazine has acknowledged that the report is false and promised adding a rejoinder. On the other hand, TV9 Bharatvarsh has deleted the report from their website and Youtube. However, the video is still available on other channels in social media and is still being used to create panic and misconceptions amongst the people.