Congress leader gave EVM to scientist, says lawyer

Hari Prasad, the Hyderabad-based researcher arrested for the alleged theft of an EVM, has apparently claimed that a Maharashtra Congress leader had helped him procure the machine from the collector's office in Mumbai.

As per Prasad's lawyer Mahesh Jethmalani, Prasad had told the police he had only "received" the machine that was allegedly procured by former minister of state Dr Shobha Bachav and a local activist.

"According to the police, Hari Prasad has said in his statement that he was approached by Bachav and a local activist, asking him to examine if the machine could be tampered with and the results could be fraudulent," Jethmalani said in court on Thursday. "He merely presented a demonstration on a machine that was procured by others. Why are the police keeping them out and arrested only him?"

However, Bachav told The Indian Express she had never met Prasad. "Many political activists from Nashik and other parts of Maharashtra had visited him in Hyderabad; my husband too had accompanied them. But the claim that my husband or I have any role in helping him get the machine is a lie. His claim about finding flaws in the machine is also questionable," she said.

Magistrate V B Shrikhande sent Prasad in two-day custody after the police claimed that Prasad was not co-operating.

Prasad, who complained of breathing trouble, pleaded innocent.

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