ibnlive » India

Dec 14, 2010 at 01:34pm IST

Foreign researchers violated visa norms: Govt

New Delhi: Two researchers from the US and Netherlands - who co-authored a report showing how EVM machines in India could be rigged - were detained for over 18 hours at the Delhi international airport.

Rop Gonggrip, a computer security expert from Amsterdam and Alex Halderman, a computer science professor at the University of Michigan had co-authored a study on the chinks in India's voting machines last year. They say they were given no reason for their detention but are fairly certain why it happened.

It was only after their host in India made some phone calls and the duo refused to be put back on a flight without being given a reason in writing, did the authorities relent.

Earlier this year in February Professor Halderman and his co researchers from India, US and Netherlands had put out a report on how easily EVMs in India could be rigged.

They had even offered to demonstrate it to the Election Commission but the commission refused.

The Election Commission however denies they have anything to do with the detention.

The Ministry of Home said that the two were detained for violating visa norms and attending a press conference last time they were in India.

In fact the ministry says the visas to the duo were issued by mistake - and that they will not be allowed entry into the country in the future.

In August their Indian co-author Hari Prasad faced even tougher action - he was arrested for a month for refusing to name the official who gave them the EVM for their research.

The group says the Indian government is simply ignoring their message and shooting the messenger instead.

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