‘Rahul, Uddhav Should Apologise Over EVM Unlocking Claims’: Ravindra Waikar Files Complaint Against UBT’s Potnis
‘Rahul, Uddhav Should Apologise Over EVM Unlocking Claims’: Ravindra Waikar Files Complaint Against UBT’s Potnis
Newspaper apologises for erroneous claim that Mumbai North West MP Ravindra Waikar's kin used phone to generate OTP to open EVMs. Waikar files complaint against UBT's Vilas Potnis for allegedly bringing armed security guard to the counting centre. Kirtikar to move SC over "unfair means"

With an English daily clarifying that it had “inadvertently and erroneously mentioned that a person had used his mobile phone to generate an OTP to open Electronic Voting Machines (EVM)” at the Mumbai North West constituency vote counting centre, Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena has now demanded an apology from Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and Sena UBT chief Uddhav Thackeray for spreading fake news. Meanwhile, Sena MP Ravindra Waikar, whose kin was alleged to have accessed the phone, has now raised a complaint against Uddhav faction’s Vilas Potnis, claiming he brought an armed security guard to the counting centre.

Shiv Sena Deputy Leader and Spokesperson Sanjay Nirupam on Monday said that as the newspaper had issued an apology after admitting that the news published was false, those who falsely accused the Election Commission of misconduct should also issue apologies. “If EVMs could have been hacked, would the Congress win so many seats,” Nirupam asked.

When the Lok Sabha results were announced on June 4, Waikar won by the lowest margin of just 48 votes. He defeated Amol Gajanan Kirtikar of Shiv Sena (UBT) in Mumbai North West. Interestingly, Waikar lost the polls in EVM votes, but won on the basis of postal ballots.

Kirtikar, in his first reaction since the controversy broke out, said, “No action was taken against them [who accessed the phone] by the counting officer despite the complaint. The question is not whether EVM has been hacked or not, but for many reasons, unfair means have been used. We will challenge this in the Supreme Court.”

The Mumbai Police has registered a case against Potnis and his security guard on the allegation of unauthorised entry into Mumbai North West counting centre at Nesco on June 4.


Mid-Day, a Mumbai-based English tabloid, had on Sunday published a report that “Sena candidate Waikar’s kin got hold of the phone that received the OTP to open the EVMs at the Mumbai North West Counting Centre on the Lok Sabha results day”. As the Opposition started to attack the Election Commission of India (ECI) over the issue, the District Election Officer (DEO), Mumbai Suburban, on Sunday acknowledged that there was unauthorised use of mobile phone, stating that a criminal case has already been filed by the Returning Officer (RO). However, the DEO maintained that there is no OTP on mobile for unlocking an EVM, as it is non-programmable and has no wireless communication capabilities. “It is a complete lie being spread by a newspaper, which is being used by some leaders to create a false narrative,” the DEO added.

The DEO said the incident in Mumbai North West Constituency Counting Centre was about “unauthorisedly using the mobile phone of an authorised person by a candidate’s aide”. The DEO further explained that counting of Electronically Transmitted Postal Ballot System (ETPBS) happens in physical form (paper ballots) and not electronics “as being spread through false narratives”.

“Every counting sheet at every table for ETPBS and EVM counting and postal ballot counting (including ETPBS) is signed by all counting agents after due diligence,” the DEO’s statement said, adding that the RO is proceeding against the newspaper for “spreading rumours maligning Indian voters and the electoral system”.

Later in the evening, the Mumbai Police clarified that a case has been registered at Vanrai Police Station for allowing an individual to use a mobile phone illegally, despite the prohibition on the use of mobile phones and electronic items at the counting station. The Mumbai Police posted on X: “While the case is still under investigation, some English & Marathi news media published news stating ‘To unlock EVM, a mobile phone was used to generate OTP’. No such information is released to any newspaper by Mumbai Police. Therefore such news articles are false & misleading.”

Mid-Day on Monday published a clarification stating it had erroneously and inadvertently mentioned that the accused had used his mobile phone to generate an OTP to open the EVMs and regretted the error.


In a post on X, citing the article, Congress MP Rahul Gandhi had said that EVMs in India are a “black box”, and nobody is allowed to scrutinise them. “Serious concerns are being raised about transparency in our electoral process. Democracy ends up becoming a sham and prone to fraud when institutions lack accountability,” he said.

Taking to X, Aaditya Thackeray wrote, “Once a traitor, always a traitor! The case of the mindhe gang candidate from North West Mumbai gets murkier, as the gaddar candidate indulges in treachery with democracy now…Surprisingly, or not, the Entirely Compromised- election commission, has refused to share CCTV footage of the counting centre. I guess it’s trying to avoid another Chandigarh moment. We always said bjp and mindhe gang want to finish our democracy and change our constitution. This malpractice is a part of their constant effort to do so.”


Nirupam also addressed a viral news report claiming that Kirtikar had won by one lakh votes yet to be counted. He raised concerns about how such misinformation was circulated.

He called for an inquiry and appropriate action, alleging that Sena UBT is attempting to defame Shiv Sena MP Waikar. The fake news has discredited police and election officials, and Nirupam mentioned that the party chief will decide whether to pursue defamation charges in court.

Nirupam also addressed another instance of fake news published in Saamana, whose editor is Rashmi Thackeray. He warned that if Saamana does not issue a public apology, he will appeal to the Press Council. He criticised the publication, stating, “Matoshree 2 is a factory of fake narratives, and its clerk is Sanjay Raut.”

Newly joined Sena leader Milind Deora posted on X: “After the #ECI’s clarification & @mid_day’s apology, what about all those who misled voters into believing #EVMs use SIM cards & OTPs? Shouldn’t they apologize for spreading #misinformation & #FakeNews or admit to being just plain ignorant?”

Inputs from Yesha Kotak, Agencies

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